Focus Turns to Team

Eilar Hardy hadn't participated in many 7-on-7 tournaments, so he wasn‘t sure what to expect when he traveled to compete in the Gridiron Kings tournament last weekend in Orlando Fla. By the time he left, the Notre Dame commitment from Pickerington Central High School (Ohio) discovered he could play with the best of the best.

Top prospects are confident in their abilities, but until they test themselves against top competition, there is still a touch of doubt in their minds. Last weekend during the Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 tournament, Eilar Hardy (6-foot-1, 175-pounds) walked in relatively untested against elite competition, and left as a member of the All-Tournament Team.

"I played a lot of safety. I didn't play corner or any offense," Hardy said. "I did real well. I had three picks and I took one back 100-yards for a TD. I hadn't played in many 7-on-7 tournaments before, so I think I did pretty well.

"It was good to get down there and compete with players of that caliber. It was a little bit of an adjustment playing against the different styles from the West Coast, the Southeast, and Southwest teams, so I had to take it up a notch from what I play here in Ohio, but I did that and it showed in my performance.

"I didn't know any of the receivers because they were from all different states," he said. "I wasn't sure what to expect from the Florida kids, the California kids and the Texas kids, but I did my best. I was just competing and going hard, so I had a great time."

As soon as Hardy returned home he had had to shift his focus to his high school team. Hardy and his high school teammates began fall camp this week, and in a handful of days, he'll be working toward his goal of leading his team to a state championship.

"I want to be a leader on my team," Hardy said. "The players on my team look up to me as a leader. They know that I'm that type of player that they can look up to and I know that I need to do a lot for my team. I want to make my teammates better, by leading by example. It's a whole team thing.

"I also want to get to the state championship. I've been playing for three years, and every year we've come close to the state championship. That's my main goal, getting my team to the state championship and winning it.

"I really believe we have the team to do it, the players to do it, and the coaches to do it," he said. "This year I strongly believe that we'll be able to compete for the state championship, so hopefully it turns out the way that I want it to."

While Hardy will be focused on his current team, he will keep an eye on his future team this fall. He is hoping to take in one of Notre Dame's practices in August, but if that doesn't work out he intends to be in town on September 11.

"I'm pretty sure I'll make it up there for the Michigan game, which is the second week," he said. "I want to watch that game with my family." Top Stories