No. 2 in our countdown sees the continuation of Outside the Huddle’s First Eleven, our annual preseason crowning of the top 11 players in northeast Indiana. Our highest preseason honor, this is the second-annual First 11 list.
No. 2: Braeden Hardwick, Homestead – Senior, RB
When Homestead senior Braeden Hardwick went down with a knee injury against South Side in Week 7 last year, it was a brutal blow for an offense that looked exceptional all season long.
The next few weeks showed just how much Hardwick meant to the Spartans. While the running attack continued along, quarterback Luke Goode had the onus put more on him, both in the passing and running game.
But Hardwick is back and 100 percent healthy for 2020, and that’s bad news for opponents. Not only is the 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior eager to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke, he has a seasoned offensive line of which to run behind.
Hardwick’s game is multi faceted. His ability to start and stop on a dime may have no equal in the game. He averaged 6.8 yards per rush last year and showcased his versatility by hauling in 17 receptions as well.
Hardwick is the best running back in the area. Of that you can be certain.
COACH’S QUOTE ON BRAEDEN HARDWICK
“Braeden has a good feel for the game and his instincts are exceptional. His spot and start sets him apart from most running backs his age. He also has great vision and is much stronger than than some give him credit for.” – Homestead coach Chad Zolman
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