James Hardy was a true, crimson Indiana football player. He started playing Wide Receiver at Elmhurst High School. Leave it to an IU man to have not only been an all-state football selection, but also runner-up to Indiana’s “Mr. Basketball”. While in high school as a senior, he caught for 710 yards and 10 Touchdowns. He also scored over 2,000 points within his 4 years on the basketball team.
As a redshirt freshman in 2005, he posted 61 catches for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns. His play earned him a Freshman All-American selection. That right there is impressive. Us Hoosier fans don’t always get those.
He followed his stellar freshman season with another good one as he hauled in 51 passes for 722 yards and 10 touchdowns and was named Second Team All-Big Ten for a second straight year. His 20 career receiving touchdowns in his first two years had tied him with Ernie Jones (1984–1987) for second on the university’s all-time list, trailing only Jade Butcher (1967–1969) and his 30 career TDs.
As a junior, Hardy caught 74 passes for 1,075 yards—ranking third in the Big Ten in both categories—and became the Hoosiers’ all-time receiving leader in touchdowns (36), yards (2,690) and receptions (186). He was selected first team All-Big Ten selection, a Biletnikoff semifinalist and the team’s most valuable player.
In true Indiana boy fashion, James Hardy had also played 2 years on the Indiana University Hoosiers basketball team. Which is impressive in itself, even more impressive when stacked upon All-American and All-Big Ten honors.
In January 2008, Hardy declared for the 2008 NFL draft. Where he was selected in the second round at pick #41. By the Buffalo Bills.
James Hardy was a standout at IU. He did suffer some severe mental health issues there towards the end, but don’t remember him for the negative. Remember him for all that he gave us Hoosier fans each saturday in the fall. An outstanding player with a breakout game. An Indiana boy who stayed true to his home state. He’ll be missed in the IUFB community. And in all sincerest regards, we here want to send our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to his family and friends. Hail to Old IU Brother! My Cream and Crimson Compadre.