Bloomington, Ind. – James Hardy's looking to gauge on his NFL stock, and the IU coaching staff is backing him in that endeavor.
Last week, Hardy took the first step toward possibly declaring for the NFL Draft by submitting the necessary paperwork to get an evaluation from the NFL's College Advisory Committee. The committee, which consists of 12 NFL general managers/personnel directors as well as the directors of the NFL's two scouting combines – will next evaluate Hardy's tape and give him a projection of where he'd be picked in the 2008 NFL Draft.
While this is something new for an IU football team that hasn't lost a player prematurely to the pros in more than a decade, it's common procedure elsewhere. The Columbus Dispatch recently reported 13 Ohio State players have requested the same evaluation, including linebacker James Laurinaitis, defensive lineman Vernon Gholston and wide receiver Brian Hartline.
It's part of the December routine for many programs, but it's something new to the Hoosiers.
"It's real standard," said IU Coach Bill Lynch, who was in full support of Hardy's decision. "We just haven't had a lot of guys that were in that position."
Hardy, though, is a player with a realistic chance of getting a very favorable review from the committee. He became the school's all-time leader in just about every receiving category this year after his 74-catch, 1,075-yard, 16-touchdown junior season.
But Hardy has more than numbers. He has unmatched size at 6'7" and terrific hands, and he's bulked to a chiseled 220 pounds. While far from scientific, he's generally been viewed as a first or second-round pick in most early NFL mock drafts, and it's a very good bet that if the committee echoes that with its review, he'll be playing his last game in an IU uniform Dec. 31 against Oklahoma State.
While the Hoosiers would hate to lose their biggest playmaker, Lynch understands the opportunity Hardy could be presented, and he's also glad to know Hardy will get a no-nonsense review from the committee next month.
"They are going to be honest with you," Lynch said. "First and foremost they encourage kids to stay in college. But it's their way of helping kids."
Lynch said Hardy is the only IU player who submitted the paperwork to the Committee.
Hardy Takes First Step Toward NFL
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