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Penn State Football

Penn State Vet Declaring for Draft, Will Play in Peach Bowl

Photo by Matt Lynch, Nittany Sports Now: Daequan Hardy

One of Penn State football’s defensive veterans is declaring for the NFL Draft. 

Daequan Hardy announced via social media Thursday afternoon that he’s decided to forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the Draft.

In the statement, Hardy wrote that he would play against Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl scheduled for Dec. 30 in Atlanta. 

Hardy, an in-state product from Penn Hills High School in the Pittsburgh Area, played at PSU for five seasons, being used both on defense and special teams. 

Most of his reps came in Penn State’s secondary, specifically at nickelback, but Hardy’s most memorable game took place due to his skills as a punt returner. He had been with the program for four seasons and roughly half of a fifth one without returning a punt. Then, coach James Franklin and his staff decided to throw Hardy back at punt returner for Penn State’s game against UMass Oct. 14.

All Hardy did was become the first player in Penn Stat history to return two punts for touchdowns in a game.

In his statement, Hardy thanked Franklin, cornerbacks coach Terry Smith, the rest of Penn State’s staff and his teammates for “making my time here at Penn State special and unforgettable.”

“I poured my heart on the field,” Hardy wrote. “Made relationships that will last a lifetime. This place will forever be etched in my heart.”

It doesn’t sound like Hardy will be the only Penn State corner declaring for the draft. When talking with CB signee Jon Mitchell via Zoom during signing day yesterday, Smith told Mitchell that Penn State would be losing “three guys to the NFL.” Corner Johnny Dixon is out of elgibility, and although Kalen King still has it, he’s widley expected to declare. 

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