Hardesty has spent more time injured than healthy since joining the Vols as a heralded recruit last August. Tennessee's first preseason scrimmage was closed to the media but Hardesty made such a splash that coaches and teammates raved about his potential. At one time he was listed the second-team tailback behind senior Gerald Riggs. Nagging injuries limited Hardesty to 18 yards on six carries during the regular season before he suffered the torn ACL vs. Ole Miss, however.
Arian Foster and LaMarcus Coker, two more of UT's outstanding young tailbacks, also battled injuries the past few months. Coker was redshirted in 2005 due to an assortment of physical ailments. Foster rushed for a team-high 879 yards but played the final weeks of the season seriously banged up. He underwent surgeries on his shoulder and his knee since the season ended.
Foster and Coker sat out spring practice, while Hardesty was limited to a few carries in some drill work. Foster and Coker are projected to be available when preseason drills begin in August. Hardesty's availability for preseason camp hinges on how quickly he can bounce back from his latest surgery.
With Foster, Coker and Hardesty sidelined, UT's tailback corps during the spring consisted of walk-on David Yancey, Ja'Kouri Williams and converted cornerback Ricardo Kemp. All showed flashes but none provided the big-play dimension head coach Phillip Fulmer says the Vols desperately need at the position.