TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – East Carolina junior Justin Hardy is one of 75 wide receivers named to the 2013 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, according to an announcement by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club (TQC) Foundation Tuesday. He is the first ECU receiver to be named to the watch list since Lance Lewis in 2011.
Hardy, who earned All-Conference USA honors as a receiver (first-team) and punt returner (second-team) in 2012, is the sixth Pirate to be named to a watch list this season joining Warren Harvey (Lou Groza Award), Derrell Johnson (Butkus Award), Will Simmons (Outland Trophy) and Trent Tignor (Ray Guy Award). Johnson (defense) and Shane Carden (offense) have also been named on the 2013 College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Watch List.
Prior to the start of the 2013 campaign, Hardy has garnered preseason all-league recognition from Athlon Sports (first-team receiver and punt returner) and Phil Steele’s College Football Preview Magazine (first-team receiver, second-team punt returner) while also being named to the CFPA All-Purpose Performer-of-the-Year Watch List.
A key component in the Pirates' potent passing attack in 2012, Hardy stood among the national FBS leaders in receptions per game (21st/6.77 rpg), total receiving yards (23rd/1,105) and reception yards per game (31st/85.0 ypg). He became just the fourth receiver in school history to reach 1,000 reception yards (1,105) in a single season, which ranks third all-time at ECU.
Hardy, who caught a program-record 16 passes in the regular season finale against Marshall, rated among the school's all-time single-season leaders in receiving touchdowns (2nd/11) and receptions (3rd/88). He also ranked among the C-USA leaders in receptions per game (2nd), 100-yard receiving games (2nd), receiving yards per game (3rd), all-purpose yards (7th), all-purpose yards (7th/1,280) and scoring TDs (8th).
A native of Vanceboro, N.C., Hardy also worked as the team's top punt returner averaging a league third-best 8.8 yards per runback. He returned 20 punts for 175 yards, which included a season-long 43-yarder against Appalachian State in the season opener and a 41-yard return against Houston.
The Biletnikoff Award recognizes the outstanding receiver in college football and is selected by the Biletnikoff Award National Selection Committee, a group of over 200 prominent college football journalists, commentators, and former receivers. This season, the Biletnikoff Award winner will be announced as part ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 12.