Tennessee has already picked up commitments from several of their top in-state targets in the 2020 class. On Friday, another of their in-state targets released his list of top schools, and the Vols made the cut.
Jay Hardy, an elite four-star defensive lineman who plays for McCallie School in Chattanooga, tweeted out a graphic revealing his top five schools in his recruitment on Friday. The Vols were included along with Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech.
— Jay Hardy (@_Chilloutjay) August 23, 2019
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Hardy is the No. 117 overall prospect, No. 5 strong-side defensive end, and No. 5 player in the state of Tennessee in the 2020 class. Along with the teams in his top five, he also holds offers from Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Penn State among others.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound lineman has already visited Tennessee’s campus multiple times in 2019. The Vols’ coaching staff extended an offer to Hardy back in December of 2018, and he’s visited at least five times since then. Hardy made unofficial visits in January, March, April, May, and July to UT’s campus. His most recent trip in July was to UT’s pool party during the last weekend before the dead period began.
Hardy, who is the younger brother of former Vol fullback Kevin Cooper, is likely to take all five of his official visits to the schools on his list and isn’t expected to make an announcement about his commitment till after his senior season.
On the field, Hardy looks unstoppable at times. He moves extremely well for his size, and he holds his nearly 300 pounds very well on his frame. He’s a vicious tackler and plays with an edge. Hardy doesn’t really take any plays off, and he’s a physical freak. He has very long arms that he uses to bat down passes and grab running backs who look like they should be out of his reach. He’ll need to work a bit on his technique at the next level, but it’s clear that he’s a top-tier talent and is one of the best defensive linemen in the 2020 class.
Tennessee currently holds commitments from five in-state prospects in the 2020 class. Four-star safety Keshawn Lawrence, four-star center Cooper Mays, three-star running back Tee Hodge, three-star athlete Darion Williamson, and long snapper Will Albright have all pledged their commitments to the Vols this cycle.
Hardy is one of UT’s biggest remaining targets inside their own state borders. The Vols would love to get a commitment from him and other in-state prospects such as defensive tackle Omari Thomas, defensive lineman Tyler Baron, defensive end Reggie Grimes, and linebacker Bryson Eason.