Vols are Finalists for 4-Star In-State Defensive Lineman

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    (Photo via @_Chilloutjay on Twitter)

    In a week and a half, one of the top prospects in the state of Tennessee will be announcing where he intends to play college football.

    Four-star defensive lineman Jay Hardy took a visit to see the Vols this past weekend, and coming out of that visit, he’s ready to make his college decision. Hardy took to Twitter on Monday to say he would be making his college commitment announcement on November 6th, and he’ll be choosing between Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Georgia Tech.

    The 6-foot-5, 290-pound lineman plays for McCallie School in Chattanooga, and he’s been a huge (pardon the pun) priority for the Vols for a while. According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Hardy is the No. 113 overall prospect, No. 5 strong-side defensive end, and No. 5 player in the state of Tennessee. The regular 247Sports rankings have him as a top-100 player, coming in at No. 97 overall and No. 2 inside Tennessee’s state borders.

    Tennessee has hosted Hardy on numerous visits this year. Since officially offering him on December 14th of last year, Hardy has visited UT’s campus eight times in 2019, including twice this month and including his official visit this past weekend.

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    Hardy, who is the younger brother of former Vol fullback Kevin Cooper, has taken an official visit to Georgia Tech and unofficially visited Auburn at the end of September as well.

    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. He’s patient and makes correct reads on run plays quite often.

    Hardy missed some time during his senior season thanks to a leg injury he sustained after a dirty hit. But Hardy recovered quickly and was back out on the field this past week.

    The Vols have picked up a flurry of in-state commitments recently thanks to a trio of defenders from Whitehaven High School in Memphis all committing to Tennessee. Right now, UT has eight commitments from within their own state in their 2020 class. Tennessee only has one defensive lineman committed to them currently, though, and that’s four-star defensive tackle Dominic Bailey.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.