Will he stay or will he go?
Last year the same question was being posed about OT Michael Oher. He stayed.
This year, it's been about Defensive End Greg Hardy.
Same results. He's staying put at Ole Miss and will play his senior season for the Rebels.
"I am grinning. It's a happy day," said Rebel Coach Houston Nutt. "We signed another good recruit today.
"Greg Hardy has decided to come back. I had a good visit with his Mom and the bottom line is that he had a lot more things he wanted to accomplish at Ole Miss with this team. We talked a lot about the bowl and his experience there. He has some personal goals he wants to achieve and his Mom wants him to graduate. We are excited he is coming back. We went over everything about Greg in our meeting. Mrs. Hardy was very positive and wants what is best for her son. To return is what is best. We discussed his grades, how he can improve, everything, and we all left the room with a great understanding and in agreement."
A week ago, and sooner, it was believed Hardy was NFL bound, but a late examination of the foot he broke back in August was said to reveal he may need more surgery.
"We don't know the status of his foot right now, but we will get him checked out. If there is something wrong with his foot, he's got plenty of time to get it right," Nutt noted. "We are not worried about that. We will get that right. During the season, it was frustrating for us and him because one day it would be fine and the next it would be sore.
"You can tell he loves football and loves to compete. He loved the success of the season, which shows he is a team player."
Houston believes this decision is absolutely the best one for the dynamic Rebel, who, when healthy, has been a game-changer.
"Here's the thing about Greg - there is sometimes a misconception out there about him. He has never been disrespectful or belligerent in any way. He might be late for a meeting here and there, but other than that there has never been an issue with his effort or attitude," Nutt stated. "If we get a full year from this guy, he's a Top 10 guy in the draft and a difference-maker for our team.
"We recommended Greg stay because his evaluation for the NFL was second or third round and he is better than that. A lot of that up front money is hard to go back and get. Come back, have a great senior year and then you are a high draft choice."
Nutt said he also discussed with Greg and his family about the vacant defensive line coaching position.
"Greg told me it really didn't matter to him who was coaching him because he trusts our decision and he knows Coach (Tyrone) Nix is still there. He knows the philosophy will not change so that's all we discussed on that front and he was satisfied," Houston stated.
So what does Hardy need to do from this point on? Certainly, the main thing right now is getting his foot right. Then? Focus.
"We talked about him staying focused and being more in tune than ever before," Nutt closed. "The injury really hurt him in terms of being frustrated and distracted and I understand that. It wasn't that he wasn't listening, it was that he was down about being injured.
"I think a healthy Greg Hardy will be a much more focused player."
We will find out in 2009.
Hardy staying for senior year
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