March 18, 2009

JUCO offensive tackle checks out Rebels

Even though Jermarcus Hardrick grew up some 20 miles or so away from Oxford, Miss., he didn't know a whole lot about Ole Miss.

That changed recently, when the 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive tackle from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College made the short trip from his home in Batesville, Miss., to the Ole Miss campus for an unofficial visit with the Rebels' football staff.

"It went good," Hardrick said Tuesday. "I learned a couple of things that I didn't know about Ole Miss. I learned more about their tradition. I got a chance to talk one-on-one with their coaches. I spent a lot of time with (offensive line) Coach (Mike) Markuson. We went over their schemes. It excited me. It was good. It felt like I'd known him all my life."

Hardrick, a former South Panola High School standout who signed with Southern Mississippi out of high school, is at home in Batesville this week on spring break. He plans to graduate from Fort Scott in December and enroll at his college of choice in January 2010.

If that choice proves to be Ole Miss, Hardrick knows the Rebels' plan for him.

"(Markuson) said he liked how I am nasty," Hardrick said. "He liked how I like to pancake. He said he really liked all the South Panola guys (at Ole Miss), and that he wants me to come in and take over for (rising senior right tackle) John Jerry.

"I'm thinking about them a whole lot. I'll be keeping them in the back of my mind."

Hardrick said Markuson indicated to him that much of the Rebels' offensive line plans depend on the impact five-star signee Bobby Massie makes when he arrives on campus this summer. As for Massie, Hardrick said he's intrigued at the idea of playing alongside him.

"I talk to Tig (Hargrave Military Academy defensive back/Ole Miss signee Darius Barksdale) a lot and I talked to Bobby a couple of times," Hardrick said. "He's a good guy. I talked to John Jerry (Tuesday) and he said Ole Miss is the place to be. He said the coaches work you hard but they keep you focused and made you better. I like that a lot. He made me think."

Hardrick has offers from Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Florida. He said Tuesday he's "in no rush" to make a decision, adding that he plans to take in some spring practices at several schools in the coming months.

"I'm going to wait until I know where the place is that I want to be," Hardrick said.

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