Like Father, Like Son.

Brian Smith

When your father is a former college All-American and NFL All-Pro, expectations can be high. Langston Hardy is ready for the challenge.

Despite being a lightly recruited high school football player from Evansville (Ind.) Harrison, Kevin Hardy became one of college football’s best players within his first season for the University of Illinois. He was named a freshman All-American for the Illini and eventually became a college All-American (1995) and Butkus Award winner given out to the nation’s top linebacker (1995). Illinois, however, was not where he originally wanted to go to school.

“I only visited Indiana, Purdue and Illinois,” Mr. Hardy said of his own recruitment. “I wanted to go to Notre Dame, but their recruitment of me was super minimal and they never invited me for a visit.”

Based on Kevin Hardy’s college and NFL career, Notre Dame and many schools missed on the now retired All-Pro. Perhaps, being from Evansville did not help. It’s an out of the way location where few recruiters pass through. That will not be a problem for Mr. Hardy’s son, Langston Hardy. Here’s a look at Langston Hardy’s film:

The Jacksonville (Fla.) Episcopal School product lives in an area that college coaches travel through constantly, and Langston Hardy has a plan in place to improve his overall game as well. He wants to become a more well rounded football player.

“Next season, I want to get more film of me standing up to show off what I can do. Play middle linebacker, outside linebacker, and defensive end,” Langston Hardy said.

As Episcopal coaches move Langston Hardy to inside linebacker or outside linebacker to better the overall defense, it will help college programs better evaluate the class of 2021 prospect. Perhaps, Langston Hardy ends up being a hybrid linebacker in college. If nothing else, he will gain a better understanding of different responsibilities for multiple defensive positions. He’s also trending upwards with his body weight.

“I was playing last season at about 205-pounds. I’m 6-3, 220 now,” Langston Hardy said. 

Part of that training to get bigger and stronger takes place with another top Jacksonville player.

“I train with Branden Jennings,” Langston Hardy added. 

Jennings is one of Florida’s top class of 2021 prospects and is committed to Florida State. The 6-4, 230-pound, Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood linebacker helps to push Langston Hardy, and vice versa, as they stay in shape during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Despite his ties to other top players, and his father, Langston Hardy should still be considered a prospect that up until recently did not receive much recognition from colleges. That’s starting to change.

Much like his dad, an undervalued prospect coming out of Indiana, the younger Hardy is improving his game and he’s just now starting to earn notice. It was not until Georgia Tech extended an offer that Langston Hardy gained his first D1 college football scholarship opportunity. 

Since late February, Langston Hardy has become one of Florida’s most offered recruits. More and more teams continue to look at him. A long and versatile athlete, at 6-3, 220 pounds, the younger Hardy can bend coming off the edge and get after the quarterback, and that’s what has helped him earn additional offers from the following programs.

“Georgia Tech, Maryland, University of South Florida, Florida Atlantic, Connecticut, and Liberty,” Langston Hardy commented about his current list of offers.

Langston Hardy did have plans of going on several college campus tours this spring, but like all prospects, he now must wait because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Until then, more offers will likely follow. It’s hard to say which programs will be next, but Langston Hardy’s father believes it was just a matter of time before his son came into his own.

“In my own selfish ways, I always knew he could be a Division I athlete,” Mr. Hardy stated about his son. “I say athlete because he loves baseball and I believe he could have played Division I baseball as well, if he wanted.

“But it all came down to what he truly wanted to do, and once he decided he wanted to play football, I knew he would get the chance to play for a major institution.”

As for watching the recruiting process with his son, Mr. Hardy was gracious enough to share his perspective as well.

“As a father, it’s gratifying to see this process because I’ve watched how hard he’s worked over the past few years for these moments. Not only on the field and in the weight room, but also off the field in his daily life and in the classroom.

“He’s a kid of high character and though he has a ways to go, he’s beginning to experience the rewards of sacrifice and dedication.”

Finally, Mr. Hardy offered his comments about what he’s shared with his son regarding the recruiting process.

“I wouldn’t say I give him advice, but rather guidance,” Mr. Hardy began. “When you get to a point like this in life, you’ve earned the right to make your own decision. Having gone through this experience only on a smaller scale, I’m just happy to be here to help guide him through the process.”

Now that’s good fatherly advice.

With Langston Hardy continuing to build relationships with college football coaches, perhaps he will be one of the next prospects to earn national recognition. He’s certainly working on taking the same path that his father took. Like father, like son.

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