You know all about the stars of Oklahoma’s 2016 class and how they’re supposed to make a major difference for the Sooners going forward.
But when you look at OU’s offensive class, one name sticks out like a sore thumb – Adrian Hardy. The thought was that months after his commitment, things would sort of come to light as to why OU seems so incredibly high on Hardy.
Honestly, though, that didn’t happen. The second commit for OU’s 2016 class, Hardy was never in real danger to leave. Texas A&M also offered, but when Hardy didn’t jump on it immediately, it seemed clear he was destined to be a Sooner even if nobody really knew who he was.
“He won’t be the least talked about for very long,” said offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley on signing day. “I think he’s one of the top athletes regardless of position in this class. Coach Gundy and coach Simmons and I saw him last spring and were blown away by him. We thought he was an incredible athlete that was a little overlooked because of the position he played.”
The position he played? In high school at Houston Spring Dekaney, that was a really good question about Hardy. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, he never attended any camps to get a real feel of just how big (or small) he actually is.
A quarterback his junior season, Hardy seemed poised to become a breakout star at wide receiver during his senior year. Instead, he did a little bit of everything. Perhaps because of that, his star never shined any brighter on the recruiting trail.
The individual numbers alone don’t pop out. Putting them all together helps you understand why OU could be excited.
As a quarterback, he was 47-of-78 passing for 1,038 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. As a running back, he added 523 rushing yards and three scores. Recruited as a receiver, and it was the spot where he wasn’t allowed to really show off what he could do with 14 catches for 210 yards and three touchdowns.
Again, not the most eye-popping numbers ever. Listen to Riley talk about Hardy, though, and you get a feeling he knows exactly how he wants to use the versatile athlete going forward.
“We’ve always had a great history of bringing in athletic quarterbacks into this system, making that transition to receiver and having a lot of success,” Riley said. “He blew us away in every facet. I’m glad that he went ‘under-recruited’ and I’m glad he didn’t play receiver the whole time because I think he’s going to be a fantastic player here.”
Ranked the No. 169 wide receiver for the class, Hardy is easily the lowest-ranked prospect for OU’s incoming class. But it’s not about where you’re ranked in high school that will define his career. And with the ability to merely focus on one position going forward, you have to believe the best is yet to come for Hardy.