2003 Spotlight: Erik Hardeman

<b>Erik Hardeman</b> is only a junior at <b>Pflugerville High School</b>, but he's among the most highly recruited running backs in Texas.<p> <br>

Schools from coast-to-coast are pursuing Hardeman, but it's very likely he'll stay in Texas. He has several in-state ties and isn't ruling out any possibilities.

His mother attended Texas and his second cousin, Tiki Hardeman, was a running back at Texas A&M.

Last season, Hardeman (6-1, 203, 4.4) rushed for 1,358 yards and 10 touchdowns on 204 carries. He also caught eight passes for 110 yards and returned five kickoffs last season for 125 yards.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't think that I would make it like I have," Hardeman said. "I had my doubts and was very skeptical. I didn't think this would ever happen."

Pflugerville coach George Hermann praised Hardeman's talents.

"He can run, catch, block and even run with power," said Hermann. "He's a real complete player. He wants to be the absolute best at what he does."

Recently, Hardeman worked out in San Antonio at the All-American Combine, where he posted a 4.45 clocking in the 40 and 10.42 in the 100 dash.

Since then, Hardeman's stock has soared.

"I've got a suitcase full of mail now," Hardeman said. "I think the most hilarious one is from Harvard. I never thought I would ever get anything from Harvard.

"I got a letter yesterday from Texas Tech. They want me to come to a camp this spring. I was surprised because I've never received a handwritten letter before. It looks like Coach (Ron) Harris signed it, which really means a lot."

Along with Tech, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma State and Louisiana State have expessed interest in Hardeman.

"I don't care about tradition. If a team's in the Big 12, that says something," said Hardeman. I would love to stay at home and play in the Big 12.

"I look at what the other schools have though. Like Texas, they have 14 different running backs right now. I'd like to play soon, not just sit on the bench until I'm a senior and then finally start. I want to get some PT right away and prove I can play."

Hardweman said his decision will be influenced by several factors.

"I look at Tech, and they're making progress," said Hardeman. "Baylor signed a nice class this year. Colorado is coming up. Boston College sticks to the running game. Things like that are important to me. I watched the signing classes from this year and last year, because those are going to be the guys who I'll compete against."

Hardeman hasn't made any official visits yet, but he's visited Baylor, Tech and LSU to compete in prep track meets.

"I like the campus at Tech," said Hardeman said. "It's nice and really spread out."

Hardeman is also a standout in the classroom. He owns a 3.0 GPA and recently scored 1060 on the SAT.

For now, Hardeman is focusing on basketball and track, but hopes to make his commitment early.

"That's what I want to do," said Hardeman. "It would make me feel better. I would be glowing if a coach offered me a scholarship. I just want to pick a school and get acquainted with it. I want to know that coach well so we can form a relationship."

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