Hardy heals, eyes all-star invite (Football)

December 1, 2010

Daniel Hardy

A broken arm shortened his senior season with the University of Idaho football team, yet Daniel Hardy of Anchorage should be ready to roll if he receives a postseason all-star game invitation.

And don’t kid yourself he will get the call.

Hardy, of West High fame, was having a career year with the Vandals before he broke his left forearm last month on a blocking play at practice. Despite playing in only eight games, he racked up solid numbers: 32 catches, 545 yards, 1 TD.

His play was strong enough that he was one of eight semifinals for the prestigious John Mackey Award, awarded to the best tight end in major college football.

“I was definitely humbled by that,” Hardy told me. “Those guys go to some pretty big time schools, so to put Idaho on the map was an honor. I owe it to my quarterback. He always hit me when I was open. We have a good relationship and it kind of carried over to the season. It was fun while it lasted.”

The next time he catches a pass it’ll be at the East-West Shrine Game (Jan. 22), Senior Bowl (Jan. 29) or Texas vs. The Nation (Feb. 5). Game invitations should be handed out in about two weeks.

“To be invited to any one of them would be an honor,” Hardy said. “It’s one of those things where you almost think is impossible until they start telling about it. It would be a blessing. I would go there and try to show everybody what I got and make Alaska proud.”

He’s already accomplished that.

Hardy has developed into one of the top college football players from Alaska and one of the finest tight ends in the country, a road that involved changing positions and dedicating plenty of sweat and sacrifice.

When the 6-foot-4 player arrived on campus he was a 195-pound wide receiver. Now he’s a 245-pound beast.

“A lot of people who knew me as a skinny, borderline anorexic kid are taken aback by my appearance now,” he said with a laugh. “It’s kind of funny.”

Hardy finished his college career with 80 catches for 1,364 yards and 6 TDs in 27 games.

Even though he’s off the field, Hardy still pays attention to what happens on it. He was just as surprised as everybody after Boise State lost.

“We were in the hotel room watching it live. It was crazy,” he said. “You feel so bad for the kicker because it’ll most likely go down as one of the biggest choke moments in sports history. It was pretty wild.

“I have a lot of respect for Boise. I really thought they were going to run the table, but I gotta give it up to Nevada for pulling it off.”

Who do you want to see in the BCS title game?

“I honestly wanted to see Boise in the game, just to represent the WAC conference and represent that our league is pretty legit,” he said.

What about Oregon-Auburn?

“That’s what the nation wants to see,” Hardy said. “I think there will be some fireworks.”

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