Bret Bielema has already started to build a strong defense for the Illinois football team and adding more depth would be big for the program.
The Illini have had some special defensive players come through the program over the past 30 years. One of those special players was linebacker, Kevin Hardy. Hardy earned the Butkus Award for the best linebacker in the college game in 1995, and he was a consensus All-American that year as well. He would end up going No. 2 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1996 NFL Draft.
Hardy was a great player for the Illinois football team, and now we are trying to add Hardy back to the roster. No, it isn’t the now-retired Kevin Hardy, but it is his son, Camden.
Camden Hardy is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound edge rusher from Atlantic Coast High School and resides in Jacksonville, Florida. He isn’t rated or ranked in the class of 2024 by 247Sports just yet, but he does have some scholarship action already.
Some of the teams to extend an offer to Hardy include Central Michigan and Wake Forest. On Friday, Hardy added another scholarship offer to the list. Illinois got into the mix with an offer to the talented edge rusher.
Illinois football is trying to land a legacy recruit and someone who could help the defense.
It is exciting that the Illini are eyeing another Hardy. There is clearly high-level talent in his blood with his dad being an All-American and going to the NFL. That talent just doesn’t disappear.
Size-wise, I love what Hardy brings to the table. At 6-foot-3, 210-pounds, he already has the build to be a solid defensive player. The talent is there to match the size as well.
Hardy has good speed on the defensive line. He can get to the ball carrier well and causes chaos for the opposing team. I also like the fact he never gives up on a play. He is always hustling and trying to make a tackle. That is going to win over a lot of coaches and fans quickly.
I think Hardy’s game gives Illinois versatility. He can line up in multiple spots on the field, and that is big for the program.
Extending a scholarship to a legacy player like Hardy is a good move by the Illinois coaching staff. I believe this kid has a lot of raw talent in him, and Bielema has the ability to develop that talent.