"We have played two games, and we came up short in both games," stated the 6' 4", 240 pound Gavin Hardin. "I did not play in the first game because my doctor did not clear me in time. They said I hyperextended my knee. I came back in game two, and our defense was back on Q, but we got beat in overtime 20-14. We are off this Friday and we play Shannon (MS) next Friday. The good thing about it is that we have not started Region play."
Hardin realized how important he was to Jackson Central Merry's defense while sitting out the first game..
"Haywood basically took us to the woodshed in our first game and beat us 35-18. We had a lot of young guys on defense, and they were not into it. I did not know much of an effect I had on our defense until I watched them from the sidelines. All of the guys were running up to me saying they could not get into it without me out there. Last game, our defense really gelled and we played really good. I think I had 9 or 10 tackles. I was just trying to help the team do our best. We got all of our kinks out now. We will be ready for Shannon."
Gavin got his first big hit in the first quarter to get his blood flowing.
"I went in on a blitz and hit the RB for a loss on 3rd and short. That felt good. It felt real good to be back out there."
How does Hardin's knee feel?
"It feels OK. I am glad we have a bye
week. I am going to go to a little physical therapy so I can get back to 100%
by next game. The doctor actually told me that I did not hyperextend it. He just
said I had a pulled calf muscle.. I am going to stay on top of it."
Gavin received a phone call on Saturday from Ole Miss.
"I talked to Coach O (Orgeron) right before they played Memphis. He told me that he needed me out there, and to make sure that I watch their young LB's so I can get a feel for how it is going to be like next year."
Will Hardin line up at LB or DE at Ole Miss?
"They are recruiting me for linebacker but you never know. I am already 6' 4", 240, and I am just 18 years old right now. I know I am going to grow some more, so I might end up at DE. Where ever Ole Miss wants me to play, I am going to make it happen. I want to be a quick impact player like Chris Strong is doing."
Does Chris Strong's quick presence in Ole Miss' line up give Gavin extra motivation to come in prepared next season to make an immediate impact?
"It really does. A lot of colleges are playing younger players now, but Ole Miss really does it so it gives me a lot of motivation to come in and start off of the bat because I know I can if I get my head right."
Does Gavin have any plans to attend the OM/Missouri game on Saturday?
"I am going to try and get down there. I will just see how it goes Friday night. It would be nice if I could get down there."
Does Hardin still feel solid with his commitment?
"All I can say is Hotty Toddy."