The visit was similar to the one that Chattanooga defensive lineman Jay Hardy made last month, but there was one noticeable difference. His time on Rocky Top yesterday had more interaction with the people that matter in the recruiting process.
"They changed it up a little bit where the players were around the coaches more today," Hardy said. "Like we spent a lot of time talking to the coaches and then hanging out with each other. Like me, Tyler (Baron), (Jacolbe) and Cowan were all talking and bonding with each other."
The added time with the Tennessee staff proved to be fruitful for Hardy. He got to hear plenty about the vision for the program and what it will take to get Tennessee back competing for championships.
"They know what it will take to get Tennessee back," Hardy said. "They have all done it before so they know how to get it done. It was just good to see the coaches and how they interact and everything."
Hardy has built a solid bond with Vol defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. The two hit each other up on social media and always have good interaction. "He cares about the players and more than just football," Hardy said. "The first thing he asks me about are my grades and my family. It's not about recruiting or football. That tells me a lot about him."
The 6-foot-5 and 250 pound McCallie product is visiting as many schools as he can to get a good feel for everything on the front end of the process. "I want to narrow things down this summer," Hardy said. "I'll probably decide after my senior season. I want to find a school with good academics because football isn't forever. They always say it's a 40 year decision and not a 4 year decision."
Hardy takes a tough load of classes at McCallie so he is prepared for the next level academically.
"It helps," Hardy said. "Like I'm going to be doing engineering and physics and all my math classes which prepares me for college."
Tennessee is currently in good shape with Hardy. His older brother, Kevin Cooper, played at Tennessee just over a decade ago. "Tennessee is close and not to far away," Hardy said. "My older brother played there. I like what the coaches are doing there. My family is very comfortable with Tennessee."
Hardy has been seeing lots of attention from both Alabama and Kentucky. He will visit Clemson next weekend.