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Verbal View: Isaiah Hardy and His West Virginia Commitment

West Virginia got a big -- very big -- addition to its offensive line when Isaiah Hardy followed through with an expected commitment to its football program. What are the Mountaineers getting in one of the largest players it will sign in recent memory?


Obviously, the size is the first thing that stands out with Isaiah Hardy. He's simply big, and that has allowed him to overpower many foes during his football career. However, a closer look shows that he has other attributes as well. He moves well for his size, and he has no problems in sliding off one block to finish another. He can move straight ahead from the first level to the second, but he also shows an adeptness at sliding to help with other defenders on the same level, or to clean up in pass protection.

Hardy also demonstrates a competitive edge, and gets pancake blocks on initial contact. He doesn't simply hug up on opposing rushers -- his ability to give a punch with his hands while maintaining balance shows promise. He also, despite his size, flashes the ability to break down and get into defenders with his pads, although that's not a consistent move in his run blocking. 

Finally, he has played both guard and tackle, which could give him an avenue to more playing time in college. If he stays at his current weight, he probably is more suited to the guard position, but his video shows a player nimble enough to perhaps get a look at tackle. Again, some of that could depend on where his weight is when he reports to West Virginia this summer.


While it's a positive, the size can also be a negative. Although it's spread over a six foot, seven inch frame, Hardy might be a bit more mobile and flexible at a slightly lower weight. It's not as if a massive reshaping is necessary, but conditioning will be an item to watch in his early days on campus.

Like many tall linemen, Hardy has a tendency to stand up early out of the snap. That doesn't appear to affect his overall balance, but it also gives opponents a big target area which they might be able to exploit. On run plays, the transition out of the stance into blocking position is one of the hardest things to master and execute consistently -- especially given the fact that the offensive lineman is usually getting counterblasted by a defender while doing so. His initial stance also appears to be a bit wide (although that is a bit tough to judge given his wide frame), but a slight modification there might make him even better off the snap.


West Virginia needs more offensive linemen that it can trust to play. The search for an ideal eight or nine linemen in that class has never reached full fruition over the past few years, and with graduation losses this season the Mountaineers are in more of a rebuilding mode than many realize. Hardy clearly has the physical tools to stand up to play in the Big 12, but West Virginia needs his contributions from Day One. Can that happen?

On the plus side, his mobility is more of an asset than many might suspect. He might be better sliding and moving in pass protection than he is firing out on run blocks, and that's a reverse of many linemen coming into Division I. He will get an extensive look early in practice, and will have to be ready to perform is WVU is to invest the time in trying to get him prepared to play in the short time he will have on campus.

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