Coaching changes weigh on Hardison


All of the coaching changes going on across the country have made Marcus Hardison task of choosing a school increasingly difficult.

Hardison, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive end from Dodge City Community College, is one of the nation’s most coveted junior college prospects.

Kansas State, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, South Florida, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and West Virginia are just a few of the schools that have offered.

Ask him to name his favorites, though, and his mind wonders with confusion.

“I couldn’t do a top five since all these coaching changes,” Hardison said. “I wouldn’t know.”

Some of the schools jumbled at the top of his list are Kansas State, West Virginia, Arizona State, Washington, South Florida, Auburn and Indiana.

“I told Baylor no already,” Hardison said. “Texas Tech dropped out because coach [Tommy Tuberville] left. Florida State dropped out because Coach [Mark] Stoops left, West Virginia is in there. Who knows.”

Hardison has taken official visits to Texas Tech, Arizona State and West Virginia. He’ll visit Kansas State this weekend.

He already visited the Wildcats on an unofficial visit when they faced Texas in their regular season finale.

“I just want to see how I feel around there really,” he said. “I fit pretty good there. I have liked all the visits that I have been on. There weren’t too many negatives or anything like that.”

Hardison did say it was a plus that Kansas State’s roster is littered with other juco players.

“That’s a plus, most definitely.”

There are plenty of plusses to Hardison’s game.

A second-team all-conference player last year as a freshman, Hardison has a redshirt year available and two seasons of eligibility at the next level.

He’s coachable, humble and feels like he still has his best football in front of him.

“I’m just big and athletic,” he said. “I just play football. I just try to play. I am quick off the line. Coaches like to see that quick twitch. I can get off the line and use my hands well.”

Trying to figure out how to narrow his list of suitors down to a manageable number has been difficult. But he’s using a few criteria to help him out.

“I usually start out with my location and what is close to home,” said Hardison, who grew up in Florida but whose family largely resides in Texas and Louisiana. “That’s what I usually start off with. If you have something going for you and I have the opportunity I will definitely look into it.”

He also looks at what his chances for early playing time will be and also the coaching staff, and the likelihood of their sticking around while he is on campus.

“I know a lot of coaches these days like to go to another job,” he said. “When head coaches leave then most of the staff leaves. I’m trying to go in and have a relationship with the same coaches, and not have to start new ones.”

Hardison said he’ll take his last official visit to Washington at a date not yet determined and likely make his decision on signing day.