Tennessee only has a few spots left to fill in their 2020 class between now and National Signing Day on February 5th. The Vols’ top remaining target in the 2020 cycle seemed to have shut things down earlier this week, but Tennessee’s coaching staff isn’t giving up on him just yet.
Four-star defensive lineman and Auburn commit Jay Hardy reportedly shut things down in his recruitment earlier this week, seeming to fully close off himself to any other teams still trying to flip him from the Tigers. Tennessee was the only school Hardy was still entertaining aside from Auburn, but other teams had also been contacting him.
But as we talked about on the latest RTI & VR2 Recruiting Podcast, Tennessee isn’t quitting their pursuit of Hardy. And he’s not quite as shut down as it would seem.
According to Patrick MacCoon, a sports writer for The Times Free Press, three of Tennessee’s coaches were down in Chattanooga to watch Hardy play basketball for McCallie School as they took on Chattanooga Christian School. Defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, and special teams coordinator/inside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer were all in attendance to watch Hardy on the hardcourt.
Tennessee Vols DC Derrick Ansley, DL coach Tracy Rocker and Kevin Sherrer are in the house to watch McCallie football standout Jay Hardy play.
— Patrick MacCoon (@PMacCoon) January 18, 2020
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Hardy is a multi-sport athlete who plays both football and basketball for McCallie. He committed to Auburn back on November 6th, choosing the Tigers over the Vols. Hardy had been to UT’s campus multiple times during the 2019 season and had just taken his official visit to campus during the Vols’ win over South Carolina.
But Hardy’s official visit to Auburn the following weekend was enough to seal the deal, and he chose the Tigers over Tennessee during a ceremony at his school.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt still has the ability to make an in-home visit with Hardy before National Signing Day, and it’s expected UT will push for that despite Hardy reportedly shutting down his recruitment earlier this week.
Hardy is the No. 102 overall prospect, No. 9 defensive tackle, and the No. 3 player in the state of Tennessee per the 247Sports Composite rankings.
The Vols signed 21 recruits during the early signing period back in December, and Hardy is UT’s top remaining target in this cycle. The Vols also hope to sign four-star athlete Dee Beckwith, and they have room for another prospect as well. Tennessee has also added Georgia offensive lineman Cade Mays and USC wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. as transfers this month, and Nebraska wide receiver Miles Jones is expected to join the roster as a walk-on transfer.