RECRUITING: OU a major player for top Florida OL

Orlando, Fla. offensive tackle Matt Hardrick says OU and one other Florida school stand above the rest.

MATT HARDRICK, OT, 6'5, 330, 5.3, ORLANDO, FLORIDA (EDGEWATER HS):

Prime-time offensive linemen are hard to come by, but Matt Hardrick is one of the very best in the country. Hardrick is so talented that he started as a freshman at defensive tackle in the very first year he ever played football.

"I was on defense my first year in high school, but then my Coach (Bill Gierke) thought my skills were better suited for offense, "said Hardrick. "He just felt my quickness and my size would be better for offense than on defense, and it has worked out for me.

"I have been playing offensive tackle now for many years and I have grown accustomed to it. This year I am going to play a little nose guard so I will be back on defense some."

Hardrick is a dominant blocker that usually takes his man to his back.

"I think I do both run and pass blocking well, "said Hardrick. "I think I like to run block just a little bit better, but for a guy my size I can honestly say that I can do both pretty well."

Hardrick can bench 305 pounds, but admits he has been lazy in the weight room and that was a mistake. He has re-dedicated himself to the weight room and says he plans to hire a personal trainer to help him with his off-season workouts.

Hardrick has been to the NIKE camp in Miami this past spring and last year he attended the NIKE camp at Gainseville. Hardrick will attend the Down-and-Dirty camp in Lakeland, Fla., which is just for offensive and defensive linemen, and he hopes to also attend the Florida Gator summer camp.

Hardrick has been offered by close to 25 schools and he just received another one from Florida International today.

"I am really looking hard at Florida State and Oklahoma. They are my main two schools right now," said Hardrick. "My top five would be Florida State, Oklahoma, Florida, Miami and Ole Miss. I will probably stay in Florida, but if I find that Oklahoma or Ole Miss or any other of the schools are looking at are better, then I would have no problem leaving the state.

"My thoughts are strong for Oklahoma and Florida State right now. I like the coaching staff at Oklahoma and how they have showed me so much attention. That shows me they really want me and they are going to try hard to get me into their school. I am going to visit Oklahoma, there is no question about that."

Hardrick has his GPA and will start looking for his test score in June.

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