One of the best wide receivers in the American Athletic Conference was not named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award this week, and the conference is not exactly sure why. East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy was an eyebrow raising omission from the list of semifinalists, and AAC commissioner Mike Aresco is coming to the ECU receiver’s defense.
Aresco issued a statement Wednesday expressing disappointment in Hardy not being named a semifinalist for the award. The statement reads
“We were extremely disappointed to learn that Justin Hardy of East Carolina was not chosen as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award,” Aresco said via a statement. “While we understand that there are a number of deserving candidates for this honor, anyone who has seen Justin play this year would have to conclude that he is among the best receivers in the nation.”
Hardy has totaled 1,002 receiving yards and seven touchdowns so far this season. He is eighth in the country in receiving yards per game and is third in the nation in receptions per game. Hardy also remains an interesting NFL Draft prospect.
“Quite simply, Justin Hardy will finish his career as one of the all-time greats in college football,” Aresco added. “He is on the cusp of becoming the NCAA FBS career receptions leader, breaking one of the game’s most important records, and he has done it with great class and dignity. He has had an outstanding season in every respect.”
There is no denying Hardy’s career achievements, but the Biletnikoff is an individual season award than a career award, just as any award. Hardy does have better receiving numbers than two Biletnikoff semifinalists though, which may have been part of the reason for issuing a statement. Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett and Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard each have fewer receiving yards and touchdowns than Hardy s far this season. Florida State’s Rashad Greene also has fewer touchdowns than Hardy. Hardy will be going to the Senior Bowl though.
Did Hardy get a raw deal from the Biletnikoff Award?