Former Vincent star Chris Hardie on the move to Ole Miss

Published 3:24 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

A big future is lined up for a big former area athlete, as former Vincent star Chris Hardie is making a move and transferring to Ole Miss for next football season.

Hardie has spent the past five seasons playing for Jacksonville State after signing there in 2018. After being redshirted in his freshman season, he received consistent playing time for the Gamecocks, even seeing the field in every game during his first complete season.

He is continually grateful for what his time with the program did for him, especially having played under coach Rich Rodriguez.

“My time at Jacksonville State was really one of the best experiences of my life,” said former Vincent athlete Chris Hardie. “Late in your career, details matter, and that is a man about detail. You won’t find nobody as hard edge as that man in Rich Rodriguez, I swear you won’t. So as far as being disciplined and detailed in the critical moment and where I am in my career, that was much needed from him.”

In his 2023 at Jacksonville State, the defensive lineman earned First Team All-CUSA and was named Conference USA Defensive Lineman of the Year by College Football News.

He ranked 18th nationally and was the team’s leader in sacks with 8.5 on the year. He also was the teams leading in tackles for loss with 16.0, which contributed to the 61 total tackles that he posted, as well.

One of his biggest plays of the year came when the Gamecocks took down Middle Tennessee State, when he recorded an interception and returned it 58 yards to help put the comeback win away on the road.

Heading into Ole Miss, he now holds 162 total tackles, 46.5 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks for his career, making him a seasoned veteran joining the Rebels defensive front.

He is ready to help coach Lane Kiffin continue a rise to success with the Rebels, as they have been a rising force in one of the most competitive conferences in college football.

“I look forward to continuing the tradition of winning and playing competitive football,” Hardie said. “The game doesn’t change. It probably moves a little bit faster, but it doesn’t change. I’m just trying to take that step in my career where I’m playing high level football in the best league in college football.”

Hardie was one of Vincent’s most talented players while in the athletic program. On top of football, the three-sport athlete was involved in basketball and track and field.

In his senior season of high school, he ran for 1,054 yards and 12 touchdowns as a running back while racking up 53 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks on the defensive side.

Hardie’s efforts helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a Class 2A playoff appearance in 2018, where it lost to Abbeville in the first round.

His support system at Vincent has been behind him throughout his career, and he feels it has played a part in his huge success, even coming from such a small town.

“Vincent is a very small town,” Hardie said. “There is always a special thing for my hometown in my heart. As far as them supporting me, I’ve never had to question it. The support has always been there, even before the things that I’ve done in college, the accolades and the achievements that I’ve reached in college. The support was there way before that was even a thing for me, so it says a lot about our hometown and it says a lot about our people.”

Now, he will take his talents to the SEC to join some of the best players in all of college football and try and help Ole Miss to find major success in 2024.