Former University of Delaware Defensive Tackle Matt Hardison Signs Deal with New York Jets
June 25, 2012
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
NEW YORK -- Yet another University of Delaware football standout has moved one step closer to making a National Football League squad this fall.
Matt Hardison (at right), a standout at defensive tackle for the Blue Hens the past two seasons, signed a three-year deal with the New York Jets Friday afternoon, Jets’ general manager Mike Tannenbaum announced.
Hardison, a 6-4, 285 lb. native of Freehold, N.J., participated in the Jets’ rookie minicamp as a tryout player back in early May.
An honor student as a sociology major, Hardison was a standout the last two seasons at Delaware for head coach K.C. Keeler after playing his first three collegiate seasons at Rutgers University. He played in 24 games over two seasons for Delaware and helped lead the Blue Hens to a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title and a berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision national title game in 2010. He registered 29 career tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss.
He appeared in all 15 games as a backup defensive tackle in 2010 and recorded 14 tackles, including four solo stops and three tackles for loss. He played a key role as the Blue Hens led the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 12.1 points per game, and ranked No. 5 in total defense, giving up just 280.7 yards per game.
As a senior, Hardison played in nine games with five starts and collected 15 tackles, including nine solo stops, 3.5 tackles for loss, and one sack. He also had a pass breakup. He missed two games late in the season with an injury but returned to play in the final two games and helped the Hens post a 7-4 record, just missing another NCAA Tournament berth. Following the season, Hardison took part in the FCS Scout Bowl All-Star Game in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
He will be among nine former Blue Hens standouts participating in NFL camps this summer, joining veterans in defensive back Mike Adams (Denver), quarterback Joe Flacco (Baltimore), defensive end Ronald Talley (Arizona), defensive back Anthony Walters (Chicago), quarterback Pat Devlin (Miami), and tight end Josh Baker (New York Jets) as well as rookie offensive linemen Gino Gradkowski (Baltimore) and Shea Allard (Green Bay).
Gradkowski was a fourth round draft pick by Baltimore in the April NFL Draft while Allard signed with the Packers as a free agent last month.
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