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2021 NFL Draft: Introducing JaQuan Hardy, Tiffin’s dual-threat running back

Josh Burkholder

If your favorite NFL team is looking for a versatile running back who can do it all, Tiffin’s JaQuan Hardy checks every box.

A complete prospect who is as well-rounded off the field as he is on the gridiron, Hardy recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his running style, the scheme Tiffin runs on offense, and why the small-school reputation doesn’t bother him.

JM: You had a big year in 2019. You finished the season with more than 1,500 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. Did you expect to have the breakout year that you did?

JH: I wouldn’t necessarily say that I expected it, but I certainly put in the work for it. I worked so hard throughout the off-season that I definitely deserved the type of year that I had. I was expecting to win a lot more ball games than we did. I would trade the accolades for more wins if I could.

JM: Expectations are going to be high for you in 2020. What have you done to ensure that you’ll meet those expectations?

JH: I’ve been working on my game every single day, and I’ve been working out every other day. I’ve actually been working out three times a day every other day. I’m working on becoming a faster player. I’m doing different interval training. I’m doing resistant band running and what not. I’m just doing different things to stay on top of my game. I’m not allowing myself to get comfortable.

JM: For our readers who are still getting familiar with you, how would you describe your running style?

JH: I’m a bit of a smash mouth guy. At the same time, I’m elusive and versatile. I have some speed to my smash mouth running style.

JM: What can you tell me about the scheme Tiffin runs on offense?

JH: We run a lot of RPO’s. We’re starting to line up under center a little more than we have in the past. The scheme that we run on offense, we attack the sidelines. We play chess, not checkers. It’s not a difficult scheme to understand. I’m a veteran at this point. I picked up on the offense rather quickly. Our scheme on defense is a little more complicated. We’re tough to stop on offense.

JM: I love that. Do you prefer a 75-yard touchdown, or carrying the ball 6+ times on a long touchdown drive?

JH: That’s a great question. At the end of the day, I’m trying to get to the end zone as fast as possible. I also feel like I get better as the game goes on and as I’m able to get into a rhythm. That’s a great question. I’ll take the 75-yard run because I’m always trying to take it to the house.

JM: As you go through the draft process a few months from now, analysts will bring up the fact that you played your college football at Tiffin, which is known as a small school. How will you respond to those comments and competition questions?

JH: At the end of the day, tape doesn’t lie. That’s what I’m going to tell them. I understand they’re going to ask about the level of competition I went up against. Hopefully I get invited to play in a Bowl game. That would be a big help for me, to get a chance to showcase myself at a college all-star game. That would give me a chance to prove the doubters wrong by competing against guys from bigger schools.

JM: We hope you get that chance. If you could take a hand-off from one NFL quarterback, who would it be and why?

JH: I would say Tom Brady. I feel like the way he beats and attacks defenses is totally different from every other quarterback. He’s been elite for such a long time. I could definitely learn a lot from him.

JM: I’ve really appreciated your time today, JaQuan. What can Tiffin fans expect from JaQuan Hardy in 2020?

JH: I’m going to have a lot of fun this year. We’re going to play some smash mouth football and get back to our winning ways. I’m gonna bring a lot of energy to the locker room. God willing we have a season in 2020. If we do, I truly believe that Tiffin is going to the National Championship. If we take care of our business, it’s in the realm of possibility for us. We have a lot of talent here. We need to be disciplined. We have a job to do. The sky is the limit for us.