James W. Hardy, III
(born December 24
in ) is an American football wide receiver
for the Buffalo Bills
of the National Football League
. He was drafted by Buffalo in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft
. He played college football
at Indiana University
Hardy went to Elmhurst High School
, playing football
. As a senior, he posted 34 catches for 710 yards and 10 touchdowns
. He was named a Class 4A all-state selection by the Indiana Football Coaches Association. As a basketball player, he was runner-up in the Mr. Basketball
voting and an Indiana All-Star. He also holds the city scoring record for Fort Wayne, with over 2,000 points during his four years at Elmhurst. The dynamic duo of the James and Joe Show (James Hardy and Joe Poindexter) led Elmhurst to a state championship appearance in 2003. However, Elmhurst was defeated by Bishop Chatard High School
as a true freshman
in 2004. As a redshirt freshman
in 2005, he posted 61 catches for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns. His play earned him a Freshman All-America
Hardy followed his stellar freshman season with an equally impressive sophomore year. Hardy hauled in 51 passes for 722 yards and 10 touchdowns and was named second team All-Big Ten for the 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 TD grabs.
As a junior, Hardy caught 74 catches 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). If Hardy would have stayed at Indiana, he would have almost certainly shattered the Big Ten Conference record for TD receptions (39) currently held by Braylon Edwards. He was selected first team All-Big Ten selection, a Fred Biletnikoff Award semifinalist and the team's most valuable player.
Hardy also played on the Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball team for two years before focusing only on football.
In January 2008, Hardy declared himself eligible for the 2008 NFL Draft, saying "I have reached the pinnacle of my college football career".
At the NFL Scouting Combine
, Hardy earned Top Performer status (top 10 of your position) in the following categories: the bench press, the broad jump, the 3-cone drill, and the 20-yard shuttle. In the bench press Hardy finished 9th among WRs with 18 reps at 225 pounds. Hardy finished 8th in the broad jump with a distance of 10'5". He finished 7th in the 3-cone drill with a time of 6.84 seconds. He also finished tied for 7th in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.20 seconds. This display of quickness from such a big wide receiver lead to his draft stock rising.
Hardy was drafted by the Buffalo Bills
in the second round (41st overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft
. He signed a multi-year contract with the team on July 24.
He received his first NFL touchdown pass in a preseason game against the Washington Redskins from J.P. Losman on August 9th, 2008. His first regular season score came September 14, from Trent Edwards in the fourth quarter.