Junior to watch: Montario Hardesty
Weight: 193 pounds
School: New Bern High (NC) High School
Positions recruited for: Running Back and Defensive Back
Physical stats: Hardesty has been timed at 4.4-seconds in the 40-yard dash and 10.36-seconds in the 100-meter dash. He also boasts a 34-inch vertical leap. Equally impressive is his hard work and dedication in the weight room. He is currently bench pressing 335 pounds and has a max squat of 475 pounds.
Stats as a junior: Hardesty had a phenomenal year in 2003- finishing off the season with 1,987 yards rushing on 235 carries including 18 touchdowns. He also hauled in 15 passes for 320 yards and an additional score. On defense he tallied 15 tackles, three interceptions and 12 pass breakups.
Awards: Hardesty received all-area honors his sophomore year and was named all-conference, all-area and all-state (honorable mention) as a junior.
Preseason accolades: Named one of the top 100 players in the nation by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.
Hardesty describing himself: "I'm a hard running slasher with the speed to burst through holes. On defense I'm a very physical DB that can blanket receivers."
What Hardesty is looking for in a future college: "I want a good school where I can win and also get a good education."
Schools recruiting: Florida State, NC State, Clemson, Michigan, UNC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Penn State, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Tennessee among others.
Scholarship Offers: NC State, UNC and East Carolina
Favorite Schools: Currently open among all schools
What was your favorite school growing up: NC State and Florida State among others
NC State recruiting coach: Manny Diaz
Academics: Hardesty reports a 2.8 GPA and plans to major in Business
StateFans Take: Hardesty reminds one of a Florida-type athlete residing in NC. Not only does he possess the natural ability to excel in football but also the instincts and off-season work habits that are a rare find in high school. While his offer list isn't necessarily long at this point, we think when all is said and done, Hardesty could become one of the most sought-after players in the state.
The Wolfpack has made no secret about the fact that they'd like nothing more than to bring in Hardesty and teammate OL Julian Williams in next year's class. While the Pack has seemingly been the team to beat for Williams, the picture hasn't been quite as clear for Hardesty. However, sources have indicated to StateFans that the Pack may actually be in better position- at least in the early going- than has been spoken publically.
The real wildcard in his recruiting may very well turn out to be Florida State. Should the Noles decide to offer, then the battle may become a lot tougher for every other competing school.