Jaydan Hardy announced his top-five schools on Thursday, and Tennessee Football made the cut. Josh Heupel and his staff have put a premium on defensive prospects this cycle, which is paying off.
Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oregon and SMU round out the rest of Hardy’s top schools.
Hardy has a special relationship with the Vols. His dad, Darryl Hardy, played for Tennessee before getting drafted to the NFL in 1992.
“The legacy my dad holds at Tennessee has always made them my dream school since I was a kid,” Hardy told On3. “He played there 87-91 and the Vols were all I ever knew growing up. It was on tv every Saturday. Last year my whole family was happy to see them do so good. Even though their defense got some hate, Coach Banks is one of my favorite DCs in the college.”
Tennessee extended Hardy a scholarship offer in May 2021. He hasn’t been to Knoxville on a visit, but he also hasn’t visited very many places yet.
Hardy ranks as the No. 162 prospect in his class. He attends Lewisville (Tx.) High School and ranks as the No. 29 prospect out of the Lone Star State.
Oklahoma has become the front-runner for Hardy, receiving a crystal ball projection for the Sooners from Steve Wiltfong.
Hardy is the No. 14 safety in the 2024 class. For a secondary that struggled in 2022, Heupel has put an emphasis on defense. It’s paying off.
Tennessee’s 2024 class already has two defensive backs, and several others have included the Vols in their top schools.
The class is comprised of four-star quarterback Jake Merklinger, four-star athlete Johnathan Echols, four-star wide receiver JJ Harrell, four-star cornerback Kaleb Beasley, four-star cornerback Marcus Goree Jr. and three-star defensive lineman Carson Gentle along with three-star offensive linemen Gage Ginther and Jesse Perry.
The momentum is picking up for Josh Heupel and his group heading into the summer.