BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- James Hardy, Indiana's career leader in
touchdown receptions and yardage, will bypass his senior season and
enter the NFL draft this spring.
The 6-foot-7 junior, who came to Indiana to play basketball and
finished as a third-team All-America football selection by The
Associated Press, said Friday he had "reached the pinnacle" of
his college career.
"Therefore, I have decided to forgo my senior year and declare
myself eligible for the NFL draft," he said in a statement
released by the school.
Hardy finished with 191 receptions for 2,740 yards and 36
touchdowns, all IU career receiving records. He also set season
records this year with 79 catches and 16 touchdowns and helped the
Hoosiers (7-6) to their first bowl appearance in 14 years, a 49-33
loss to Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl on Monday.
"We appreciate everything James has contributed to Indiana
University," coach Bill Lynch said. "It has been amazing watching
him grow not only as a football player, but also as a man."
His 16 touchdown receptions this year ranked second in the
Hardy played only two seasons of high school football at Fort
Wayne Elmhurst, but was a first-team AP All-State selection in
basketball. After playing both sports as a freshman at Indiana, he
gave up basketball to concentrate on football.
He had more than 100 yards receiving in each of his first two
games and in five of his first six games in 2005. He finished that
season with 61 catches for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns. In that
offseason, he was arrested in Fort Wayne for domestic battery,
charge that was later dismissed through a diversion program.
He came back the next season, and despite a two-game suspension
imposed by the late coach Terry Hoeppner and a midseason
quarterback change, Hardy finished with 51 receptions for 722 yards
and 10 TDs.
He considered leaving for the NFL at that time, but he returned
for his third season with a renewed commitment.
"Having a full year to focus on football has helped me
tremendously," he said at the start of the 2007 season. "No
matter what I accomplish, I'm never satisfied now. I will continue
to work hard no matter what comes my way."