Kiante Hardin knows about Charlie Weis. He knows about Dave Campo, and his time at Miami and with the Dallas Cowboys too.
That’s why he can’t wait for Friday Night Lights at Kansas.
“I want to see how they compare me to those great players that they’ve already seen,” Hardin said of the two longtime NFL assistants. “I want to try and get some feedback on how I do.”
Hardin knows something about success. A playmaker at Webb City (MO) High School, Hardin stepped into the starting lineup for the first time in 2012. The sophomore didn’t disappoint, posting 7 interceptions and 30 tackles en route to earning First Team All-District and All-Conference honors at cornerback for the Class 4 State Champions.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” he said of the Cardinals 45-game winning streak. “Nobody wants to lose. We’ve won three championships in a row, so nobody wants to lose that tradition of winning. That’s how our coaches motivate us, ‘Do you want to be the team that loses it?’”
“There’s always a bunch of people at the games. It starts up as soon as basketball season ends, it just keeps going. Everywhere you look, people are wearing their football shirts.”
Hardin’s trip to Lawrence will mark his first time in a college camp, a month after a standout combine performance in Kansas City. The 2015 prospect turned in a 4.67-second 40-yard dash time, along with a 4.25-second shuttle, and a 33-inch vertical leap.
“I’d describe my game as fast-paced, quick, and a little agile,” Hardin said, a smile spreading across his face. "I use that to my advantage against other players. I use my vision when I run with the ball, seeing what’s open and whatnot. A lot of runners get tunnel vision. I notice things that are going to happen.”
After establishing himself at corner, Hardin will likely see his role expand to the offensive side of the ball in 2013. Having played running back since he was young, the 5-foot-10.5, 155-pound athlete could also see action at receiver.
“I like having the ball in my hands,” he said, quietly. “It’s fun to play offense and score touchdowns, but it’s also fun to get some interceptions and hit people. I like both, but I think defense is more fun. Whatever I have to do to help us win another state championship.”
As Hardin gears up to take the field at Memorial Stadium, the Webb City standout has a goal in mind.
“I just want to prove that I’m good enough to play at the collegiate level at D-1,” he said with a nod. “Get their opinion, see if they are interested in me or not. Kansas would be my first D-1 offer, that’s kind of a big deal to me right now. I think If I get one, it could be a snowball effect.”