Montario Hardesty made the most of his first year as New Bern High School’s (NC) starting tailback, rushing for 1,983 yards on 240 carries, catching 16 passes for 304 yards and scoring 20 total touchdowns as a junior last season.
What separates Hardesty from other tailbacks is speed. During the Nike Camp in Charlottesville, he posted a 4.5 flat in the 40-yard dash. On track, he posts 40 times in the high 4.3s according to New Bern Head Coach Chip Williams. He also excels in the 100 meters. During the East Coast Track Championships in July of this year, Hardesty posted a 10.71 in the 100 meters.
Hardesty says most schools are recruiting him as a tailback, and his combination of speed and vision is the likely reason why.
“Pretty much all of the schools are recruiting me as a running back,” Hardesty said. “FSU has told me they like me on the other side of the ball, but that’s it. Now that they all have film on me, they all like me as a running back. Schools like my vision and my speed – that’s a lot of it.”
The talented tailback hopes to carry his experience last season into this year. He is looking to improve upon his impressive 2003 statistics.
“I’ve gotten a lot better at reading holes, knowing when to turn, knowing when to dip in or dip out to the sideline and take off,” Hardesty said. “Now I’m seeing and feeling stuff other guys wouldn’t see.”
ACC, SEC and Big 12 schools have shown the most interest in Hardesty, who claims close to 20 scholarship offers.
“I have 18 or 19 offers,” Hardesty said. “Pretty much all of the ACC schools have offered, and South Carolina and Auburn have also offered. Nebraska and Notre Dame too.”
Hardesty feels several schools are showing stronger interest than the rest.
“Probably UNC, [N.C.] State, Virginia and Virginia Tech – both of them send me a lot of handwritten letters, Nebraska and FSU,” Hardesty listed when asked which teams were recruiting him the hardest.
Though he claims no favorites at this time, Montario acknowledged one school he would like to use an official visit on – Nebraska.
“I think I’ll take one official to Nebraska,” Hardesty. “I think I’m going to do that. Right now, there are a lot of schools I’m still considering – [North] Carolina, [N.C.] State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Auburn.”
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