UM In Heated Battle For Top Prospect

This elite prospect wants to make an early commitment and he's got two primary choices in mind. Before he makes that decision, he said he wants to check out the University of Miami this summer. He talks about why the likes the Hurricanes, which former Hurricane he'd love to have the chance to meet, and much more in this interview.

In a very important year for recruiting tailbacks at the University of Miami, another major target appears to be Pflugerville (Texas) standout Erik Hardeman.

At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Hardeman said he was recently timed via a combine at 4.397 over 40 yards, displaying tremendous speed. He also competes in track, where he ran the 100m and 200m events. His 100m time of 10.68 FAT at the Texas Relays furthers the point that Hardeman can flat out fly.

Hardeman was born to play the position, and that was evident in his first year ever playing football.

"When I was eight, our Pop Warner team went on to nationals," he said. "I haven't been back there since. My first year playing running back, I scored 39 touchdowns. When I first started playing, I was a wide receiver and a defensive back, but then when I played running back, I knew that was my position."

Hardeman ran for 1,350 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior and plans on doing much more damage this season.

"We should have a much better team this season," he said. "Our quarterback has really grown up a lot. We actually just qualified for the state 7-on-7 tournament here in Texas."

Hardeman is also the shooting guard for his varsity basketball team, in which he averaged 12.8 points per game this past season. Inside the classroom, he's already fully qualified with a 3.0 GPA and 1060 SAT score.

"All the top schools have called me it seems," Hardeman said about the recruiting process. "Everyone from Miami to Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, A&M, every school in the Big 12 called, LSU, Purdue, there has been a bunch of them."

Hardeman said there was a constant with all of his recruiting calls.

"Pretty much everyone that called told me they had a scholarship for me, then they sent it through the mail," he said. "The only one that hasn't sent in the mail is Purdue, but they told me they're only going to take one running back and that I'm real high on the list."

The talented running back has four schools that stick out to him at this time.

"The main ones I'm looking at are Miami and Texas," he said. "And also probably Oklahoma and Nebraska. I want to talk to Florida State, but they been trippin and haven't called me yet."

Hardeman said he came away very impressed with UM coach Rob Chudzinski.

"The thing with Miami is I like Coach Chudzinski," he said. "I told him that I'm looking heavily at Texas and that they were one of the first schools to offer me and that I already knew the coaches and the campus and everything. He said that's fine and that now he wants me to come see Miami. I told him that I've been wanting to play for Miami ever since I was little and I didn't know they even wanted me. He said I should wait to take my visit there because he said they really want me. I know Edgerrin James played there and I might get to meet him if I go down there."

So when will the visit take place?

"I'm going to try to get down to Miami sometime this summer," he said. "I would love to go to their camp, but money will be a big issue for me. But I want to at least check out the school and meet with all the coaches there."

Hardeman said he'd like to make an early commitment, but wants to make sure he checks things out at UM first.

"I want to see my top choices in person before I make that decision," he said. "But I plan on making an early commitment."

So considering Hardeman lives 10 miles from the University of Texas, what are the chances he might leave town for college?

"There's a good chance," he said. "Some people like to stay at home, while some don't. I've lived here all my life and I know what everything is about. I live down the street and everything, but I've never been to Miami."

Personally, I see this as a Texas/Miami battle all the way. Obviously, UM is probably facing an uphill battle, but if he's able to make it down for an unofficial visit this summer, I think that will increase UM's chances tremendously.

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