Justin HardyEast Carolina receiver Justin Hardy has gone from former walkon to being the NCAA’s all-time leader in career catches.

Hardy, a fifth year senior, finished the regular season against Tulane and wrapped up the game with nine catches for 104 yards. He passed former Oklahoma standout Ryan Broyles’ career mark of 349 only three years after it was set by Broyles back in 2011.

His career began an auspicious fashion, as Hardy was an option type quarterback in high school that was lightly recruited and only received one Division II scholarship. As a high school senior in 2009, Hardy passed for 2,287 yards with 29 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He also ran for 1,123 yards and 10 scores.

Starting off his first year as a receiver for the scout team, the Vanceboro, North Carolina native quickly earned a scholarship by the next season and showed such rapid development that he almost prompted the removal of his redshirt during his true rookie campaign.

He owns ECU career records with 354 receptions, 4,153 receiving yards and 32 touchdown catches. He is currently 13th all-time in FBS history in receiving yards and has 15 100-yard receiving games and has three straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Hardy enters the final game of his Pirates career this Thursday night at Dowdy-Fickel Stadium against Central Florida on Senior Night ready to cap of a legendary tenure at East Carolina with a chance to keep penning his numbers in the record books.

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Hardy is an averaged size receiver with some pop out of his breaks and outstanding technique in his routes. He is as tough as they come, playing through pain, and he is a gifted after the catch runner as a shifty ball carrier in space.

He profiles as more of a Wes Welker / Steve Smith[Giants] possession type that can beat man coverage with quicks and wits as opposed to an outside pass catcher that wins with blazing speed. The advantage Hardy has is that he has experience playing outside, in the slot as well as in the backfield.

He is a smart player that should be a quick study as well as a reliable option that will hit the ground running and that should translate into an instant impact at the next level.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul says:

    Hardy is the real deal. He has way more upside than the Steve Smith you’re comparing him to.

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