I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Illinois wide out Justin Hardee. Hardee is a 6’1 195 pound receiver entering his senior season for the Fighting Illini. Recently rehabbing from an injury that sidelined him this previous season, Hardee is back and ready for the approaching spring offseason, and 2016 season.
Hardee is a local talent graduating from widely recognized Glennville High School, otherwise known as the Ginn Academy. The school is historic in the Cleveland area, where athletic talent flourishes out of the school, especially in football. Glenville has produced NFL talents like Ted Ginn Jr, Donte Whitner, and Cardale Jones. Hardee was coached by the great Ted Ginn Sr. whom he respects immensely and owes a lot to for his football achievements. Outside of football, Justin was a track star during his high school years. Hardee competed in all sprinting events, and was a part of the 4×2 and 4×4 meter state champion relay teams. Coming out of high school, Hardee was the 74th ranked athlete in Ohio and a 3 star recruit. Hardee exclaimed he had offers from different schools, but ultimately chose Illinois because it suited him best.
Justin comes from a tight knit family and close group of friends whom he stays close to while away at Illinois. Hardee returned home for the holidays and has been training at a local gym, Defi-Age with well known local trainer Lance Moore. Hardee is the youngest of three growing up just down the road from Glennville High where the men in his family are alumni. The Illinois wide out exclaimed that his inspiration and drive for the game of football comes from his mother whom he admires very much. Hardee dreams to soon make his family proud and top off his collegiate career with a spectacular senior season.
The former Glenville standout prides himself on the way he plays the game, physical. Despite the premadonna stereotype of wide receivers, Hardee is just the opposite. Hardee enjoys contact, and has the size and strength to work past corner jams and tight coverage. The senior wide out also possesses speed and agility that translate into his routes allowing him to cause problems in the secondary. Hardee played special teams and helped the fighting illini by recording 47 receptions, a touchdown, and over 500 yards receiving in his current career. With his 6’1 195 pound frame, he primarily plays outside, but has the ability to move in to the slot and cause mismatches on linebackers.
After suffering a broken foot prior to the start of the 2015 season, Hardee did not get his chance to display his ability for the Illinois faithful. Back in shape and stronger than ever, Hardee plans to take the Big 10 by storm in 2016 and add another Glenville Alumni to the NFL.