Oregon linebacker Rodney Hardrick, a redshirt sophomore from Colton High School (Colton, California), enters his third season in the Oregon program.
Before joining the Ducks, Hardrick was a two-way star under head coach Richard Bray playing tight end and outside linebacker. Through his three seasons of varsity football, Hardrick continued to improve upon significantly each season. As a sophomore, he recorded 71 tackles (43 unassisted, 28 assisted), five sacks, three forced fumbles and one recovery while only playing defense. As a junior, Hardrick hauled in six passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 35 tackles (25 unassisted, 10 assisted), one sack and three forced fumbles. As a senior, his numbers rose to 41 receptions for 808 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 98 tackles (69 unassisted, 29 assisted), six sacks, two interceptions, seven passes batted and four forced fumbles with two recovered.
Hardrick was considered a unanimous three-star recruit by Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247Sports. Scout listed Hardrick as the No. 35 OLB prospect for the 2011 recruiting class and had him ranked the highest by the four scouting services.
In 2011, Hardrick saw action in four games as a true freshman finishing the season with eight total tackles (five unassisted, three assisted) and 2.0 tackles for loss. Hardrick’s top games came in a win over Arizona State when he finished with a career-high four tackles and his Oregon debut against Missouri State finishing with three solo tackles and both of his tackles for loss. An injury cost him most him most of the season, but he was granted a medical redshirt.
In 2012, Hardrick played in nine games as a reserve linebacker including action in the team’s 35-17 win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. He finished the season with 11 tackles (nine unassisted, two assisted) and 1.0 tackle for loss. His best game of the season came against Tennessee Tech when he finished with four solo tackles.
Going into the 2013 season, Hardrick has to feel great about his potential to earn a starting job. Three of Oregon’s starting linebackers last season (Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso, Dion Jordan) are off in NFL camps right now. Besides returning OLB Boseko Lokombo, all three spots are up for grabs. Hardrick is a battle with Tyson Coleman for one of the starting spots, and it should come down to the start of the season before a winner is announced.