UDFA Profile: Former Zero-Star Recruit Now NFL RB

UDFA-Profile-Former-Zero-Star-Recruit-Now-NFL-RB-hero

Over the next two weeks, DallasCowboys.com dives deeper into the talented group of undrafted rookies that are expected to battle for a roster spot this offseason. Today, we profile the Tiffin University Dragon added after the draft.

  • Name: JaQuan Hardy
  • Position: Running Back
  • Height: 5-8
  • Weight: 211
  • School: Tiffin (GMAC)
  • Awards & Recognition: 2019 Great Midwest Player of the Year, Second Team All-American by AFCA and D2CCA.

The Good: Hardy is a smaller tailback that showcases good acceleration and fantastic balance that helps his elusiveness with the ball in hand. His go-to moves include a powerful stiff arm and the ability to clear defenders with a hurdle. Keeps his legs churning after initial contact and moves the pile with ease which is saying something about his strength in a smaller frame. That strength was also on display at his pro day with 21 bench press reps which had him towards the top of the list in terms of the running back class.

The Project: When you turn on the tape, usually a Division II prospect will stick out like a sore thumb. Hardy definitely has his flashes, but on a play-to-play basis he fit right in with the competition around him. His footwork is pretty unpolished and there is a lot of film of him just running into the back of his offensive linemen where there was room to create elsewhere. Though part of that had to do with inconsistencies around him in the Tiffin offense. He's not much of a receiving threat with 38 total receptions compared to over 500 carries and he seems to welcome contact from bigger defenders. Which he could get away with in D2, but not so much at his size in the NFL.

The Summary: Hardy, a zero-star recruit, initially caught the attention of the NFL with a breakout sophomore year with 207 carries and 1,077 yards to go along with 8 touchdowns in 2017. However, he was unable to improve upon those numbers right away with a knee injury that kept him sidelined for all of 2018 before his return in 2019. His return was more than a return, it was an explosion. 1,554 yards on 204 carries and 15 touchdowns which ranked him top-three in the country for each category. While also setting single-season GMAC records for yards per game (141.3), yards per carry (7.6), and the longest single run in school history of 94 yards.

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