Shawn Hardy II can do a little bit of everything.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is a talented wide receiver, coveted by teams all over the country as a Class of 2021 prospect. In addition to that, he's been the soccer team's leading scorer as a freshman and a sophomore before the coronavirus put a halt to that season this spring, according to his football coach at Georgia's Camden County High School, Bob Sphire.
He can also punt and kick, he's going to play some situational cornerback this coming fall and he's a dynamic return man.
Most recently, he became the eighth verbal commitment in Nebraska's current recruiting class after he pledged to Scott Frost's program on Friday afternoon.
"Shawn's a really good athlete," Sphire said. "Arguably the best athlete in our program, and we feel like we have some really good athletes. Explosive playmaker and probably tracks the deep ball as well as anyone I've had."
As a junior, Hardy was named to first-team Georgia Class 1-7A at receiver after, according to MaxPreps, he hauled in 44 passes for 782 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's considered a three-star prospect by both 247Sports and Rivals, but he last spring tweeted that he had offers from schools such as Ohio State, LSU, Auburn and many others.
Like outside linebacker Patrick Payton and offensive lineman Branson Yager in recent weeks, there was not much publicly about the Huskers' recruitment of him before his commitment became known. But the Huskers have been recruiting him for a long time -- he unofficially visited Lincoln when Nebraska hosted Ohio State last September -- and he and his family have a strong relationship with NU tight ends coach Sean Beckton and several others.
"I've been talking with a few different coaches from Nebraska almost every day," Hardy told the Journal Star on Friday afternoon. "I talk to (offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Matt) Lubick every day and I have a great relationship with him. I've talked to Frost several times.
"I feel really comfortable with my choice and I think they're a great team."
Not only that, but Hardy has family connections in Omaha. He said he was planning on taking a bunch of visits all over the country this spring, but the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to those plans.
"I probably wouldn't have committed this early, but everything happens for a reason," Hardy said.
Even though the recruitment was quiet publicly, it's been a long, intense one.
"He's visited there, he's seen the atmosphere, they've seen the facilities," Sphire said. "This is one of those things where they've vetted through this thing over the past year and a half. They just reached the point where they were extremely comfortable and he's had some really good conversations with Coach Frost over the past few weeks and just a couple of days ago."
He also quickly formed a good relationship with Lubick, NU's first-year offensive coordinator, despite the shutdown.
"I think he's a great coach," Hardy said. "I've seen a few things he did at Oregon and before he came to Nebraska and I think he's going to make a great player out of me."
Don't discount the role that Beckton, a longtime recruiter in the area, played in this recruitment, too.
"There's no gamesmanship on his part," Sphire said. "He's always straight. I can say to him, 'OK, where is he on your board? Is this a committable offer?' At any point in time during any of the recruiting process of any of our guys, I want to be able to get straight-up, honest information from Sean. I never tell a kid where to go, that's not my job. My job is to help them and their family know what I know about people's character, the trust level and what they're hearing.
"In this situation, it was easy for me to let Shawn and his family know that this is legit. I wish everyone recruited like (Beckton)."
|Marques Buford||DB||Oakdale, Conn. (St. Thomas More)||***|
|Koby Bretz||DB||Omaha (Westside)||***|
|Gabe Ervin||RB||Buford, Ga.||***|
|Thomas Fidone||TE||Council Bluffs, Iowa (Lewis Central)||****|
|Mikai Gbayor||LB||Irvington, New Jersey||***|
|Kamonte Grimes||WR||Naples, Fa. (Palmetto Ridge)||***|
|Heinrich Haarberg||QB||Kearney (Catholic)||***|
|Shawn Hardy II||WR||Kingsland, Ga. (Camden County)||***|
|Wynden Ho'ohuli||OLB||Mililani, Hawaii.||****|
|Randolph Kpai||ILB||Sioux Falls, S.D. (Washington)||****|
|Chris Kolarevic||LB||Traverse City, Mich. (Northern Iowa)|
|Henry Lutovsky||OL||Mt. Pleasant, Iowa||***|
|Seth Malcom||ILB||Tabor, Iowa (Fremont-Mills)||***|
|Latrell Neville||WR||Missouri City, Texas (Hightower)||****|
|Teddy Prochazka||OT||Elkhorn (South)||****|
|A.J. Rollins||TE||Creighton Prep||***|
|Markese Stepp||RB||Indianapolis (Cathedral)|
|Samori Toure||WR||Portland (Oregon Westview)||**|
|Jailen Weaver||DE||Antioch, Calif.||***|
|Malik Williams||DB||Buford, Ga.||***|
|Branson Yager||OT||Grantsville, Utah||***|
Contact the writer at email@example.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.