Mike Hardy Likes Three Big Ten Schools

Mike Hardy, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end from Kimberly (WI) High who visited Minnesota last month, is one of the top defensive players in the Midwest. Hardy, who has a Minnesota offer, helped lead Kimberly to their second straight Division II State Championship last year. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Hardy to learn the latest on his recruitment.

Mike Hardy had six sacks, 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, two forced fumbles, and a blocked punt last season as they finished 14-0 for the second straight year. The Papermakers defeated Verona 28-14 in the state title game.

Hardy updated GoldenSports.Net with the latest on his recruitment.

"My last visit was Iowa and Iowa State," he said. "I have not really done anything since then. Right now, I am just kind of sitting on it and focusing on my track season. I really liked all my visits. I went to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Purdue and both Iowa schools. They are all nice campuses. They are all nice schools. They all have good coaching staffs. Last week, I sat down with all my football coaches and my parents. My coaches gave me their opinion on things. Right now, my top three are Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, because those are the ones that kind of stuck out for me."

Hardy said that he wants to make his college choice early this summer.

"I hope to have a decision by July that way I can be done with it, have it off my mind and focus on football again."

Hardy is also having a standout season, throwing the shot put and discus for the Kimberly track and field team. His best tosses were 160-10 in the discus and 51-11 in the shot put. He is pleased with his performance to date.

"I have been taking first in most of my meets," he said. "I have a meet tomorrow and the conference meet starts next week. So, it is getting close to the end."

Hardy said that he has set several personal goals for the rest of his track and field season.

"My personal goal, because I am in the top five, is to get back to state again," he said. "I went last year and took tenth in the discus. So if I make it to state, I think that I have a pretty good chance of placing pretty high. This year, if I make it down."

Hardy is undecided on whether he will attend any camps since he is hoping to make a decision in the next two months.

"I don't know," he said. "I have not really thought about that. I am going to a camp with my high school team, so I don't know if I would go to any camps.

Hardy is hoping to make his decision this summer.

"Beginning of July, because that is when we start our workouts and practices."

Hardy is hoping to continue Kimberly's strong play next season. However, he admits they will have to replace some big losses due to graduation.

"We lost 30 seniors," he said. "Most of them were on offense, so we are going to have step it up on offense and defense. We lost a bunch of people."

Hardy said that he and the other upcoming seniors will have to step up with their play and leadership for the team to continue at their high level.

"I think that even if we didn't, I think that the seniors have to have good leadership every year because they have to set a good example for the younger kids and be the leaders other than the coaches," he said. "The coaches can't do everything."

Hardy said that there is plenty to like about his top three schools.

"Iowa. I liked their campus and their city. It is not too big, but it is not too small. It's just a nice little campus. You can walk around the whole campus. I like their coaching staff and their strength and conditioning coach Doyle. He is one of the best in the country. That is what I would like to be when I am out of college. I would like to be a strength and conditioning coach, so going there would get me a lot of experience with me, which would be good."

"Minnesota. Just by talking to Coach Jorgenson and how they got their whole new coaching staff. Coach Jorgenson said that all their coaches are good coaches and he thinks that they are going to be on the uprise in the next couple years. They are getting their new stadium, which is really nice. We got to walk through there when we went on our visit."

"Well, Wisconsin. I talked to one of my coaches who went to Wisconsin a few years ago. He said that if you go to Wisconsin and graduate and get your degree, that if you look for a job anywhere in Wisconsin that you are going to have a good chance of getting that job because you have a degree from Wisconsin, because it is one of the top academic schools. It is close to home and the coaches are pretty nice. I have a pretty good relationship with Coach Bostad (Assistant Coach of Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator)."

Hardy's former teammate A.J. Klein, signed with Iowa State, a school that he visited this spring. However, he thinks that he will not follow his former teammate to college.

"I think that it will be one of those three," he said. "Iowa State is probably my fourth right now. Same with Purdue. What I was going for, they have a good program, but with the way I would have to do things, I would have to do a double major and I just don't think that I would be able to do a double major and football. The other schools have a single major where I can go anywhere."

Hardy is an excellent student who has a 3.4 GPA and a qualifying ACT score. He already has a major in mind to reach his goal of being a strength and conditioning coach.

That would be a Kinesiology major," he said. "From there, I could do physical therapy and stuff like that, if I wanted to."

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