Several out of state top targets for the Florida Gators visited Gainesville on Saturday for junior day and to watch practice.
Defensive end Jay Hardy (6-4, 265, Chattanooga, TN. McCallie School) was one of those guys who made the long trip and he got to do several things while on campus.
“The first thing I did was I went to the academic building and I liked that a lot,” Hardy said of his visit to Florida on Saturday. “Then talked to the coaches and some of the players, that was good.”
Hardy said he spent a lot of time with defensive lineman Adam Shuler while on campus and he and other players had a message for the Tennessee native.
“They said Florida is different than a lot of schools they visited when they were going through the process,” he said on the message from the players to him. “They said it’s a great place to be.”
Saturday was also the first time for Hardy to meet with new defensive line coach David Turner and he had a message for the defensive lineman about why Florida is different.
“I was with Coach [David] Turner a lot,” Hardy said on the coach he was with the most. “They just said that the difference between this school and other schools is that Florida is in the top 10 in both football and academics.”
While watching film with Turner on Saturday, the Gators defensive line coach compared Hardy to several former players of Turner’s.
“The people he’s put in the league, Fletcher Cox, Chris Jones and Preston Smith, all the people I’ve watched,” he said on his impressions of Turner. “With him coaching me, I can go anywhere I want to go. He compared me to Myles Garrett, Fletcher Cox and Preston Smith. We watched my tape and he said it’s really hard to find defensive lineman as fast as me. He said they’re losing six defensive linemen in the next two years.”
This spring has been a busy one for Hardy as he has visited several big schools so far and has two other visits coming up.
“Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Clemson,” Hardy said on the visits he taken so far. “I’m going to LSU next weekend and then Vanderbilt the week after that.”
After visiting Gainesville on Saturday, Hardy didn’t name Florida his leader but he says the Gators made a big impression on him.
“Since I’ve come here, they’ve shot up a lot, I like it a lot,” he said on where Florida stands after the visit. “Almost to the top, Kentucky, Clemson and Georgia are up there too.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Hardy says he wants to visit Florida for a game this fall to see the atmosphere in Gainesville.