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Hardy joins Irish recruiting class as 11th commitment

Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish have picked up their 11th recruiting commitment for the 2011 class, with Ohio safety Eilar Hardy committing to Notre Dame today, multiple websites reported.

Hardy was the second commitment of the week for the Irish, joining Florida outside linebacker Clay Burton as a player coming to Notre Dame at a position of need. Hardy had 18 offers including Arizona, Michigan State, Iowa, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, before pulling the trigger on the Irish after a second visit, and comes out of Ohio, a state that’ll need to be a recruiting priority for this coaching staff.

Hardy fills a position of need, coming into the Irish secondary as a guy who plays physical as strong safety that needs to add some bulk in the weight room. A quick look at his game tape gives you a few highlights of a player that seems comfortable playing down in the box, but also seems to have pretty good wheels and ball skills.

If you’re into stars, ESPN has Hardy as a three-star recruit, Rivals and Scout have him listed as four-stars. Here’s a quick rundown from ESPN, who seemed pretty high on him for a three-star grade.

Hardy is a very smooth, multi-facet athlete who has a lot of ability and physical tools to develop at the safety position. Tall, leaner frame in need of bulk and strength but his upside is exciting. Lacks great top-end speed and explosiveness but has good range when projecting for the next level as a potential free or half-field safety. Displays natural coverage awareness skills and consistently makes the right read; positions himself correctly to make plays on the football. Lets his great athleticism, fluid hips and ball skills take over as a deep zone defender. Opens and turns smoothly when closing and tracking the downfield throw. Ball skills are great. Feet never stop moving when transitioning allowing him to make great breaks as an underneath zone defender as well. Takes direct angles to the ball with little wasted motion and makes solid contact eliminating yards after the catch. Versatile as he can play close to the line of scrimmage as well and is an effective zone blitzer off the edge who times his jump and closes with good quickness. Strong tackler who breaks down well in space and wraps up.

Hardy was recruited by running backs coach Tim Hinton, with defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco on the trail as well.