Sharp Passing Effort, Rush Defense Dominates Second Scrimmage
ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill Welcomes Back 14 Returning Starters, 50 Lettermen
Offensive Duo Helped ECU To 10-3 Record, Bowl Victory in 2013
Vintavious Cooper Runs for 198 Yards and Scores Two Touchdowns
Junior Receiver Leads C-USA Receptions (87) And Receiving Yards (1,047)
ECU vs. Ohio (USA Today Gallery)
East Carolina vs. Louisiana - R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - AP Photos (12/22/12)
AP Photos: East Carolina vs. Houston
AP Photos: Football vs. UAB
AP Photos: Football vs. Memphis
Should elevate honors candidacy path to an even higher national level as a junior after a record-breaking first two seasons ... Securely has possession of ECU's top "Y" (inside) receiver position and could also again serve as the Pirates' primary punt return specialist in 2013 ... An electric multi-purpose receiver and returner who seemingly provides a spark at the most opportune and strategic times ... A 2013 First-Team Preseason All-Conference USA pick by Athlon Sports as a receiver and punt returner ... Also garnered first-team preseason all-league honors as a pass-catcher by Phil Steele's College Football Preview Magazine (second-team returner) ... Could platoon at times with 6-foot-8 Justin Jones in different situational alignments, especially on third down or inside the redzone, or move to an outside receiving role ... Recorded two receptions for 23 yards, including a scoring grab from Shane Carden, during the first spring scrimmage April 6 before adding six catches for 61 yards and another TD a week later in the second intra-squad contest ... Made one reception for eight yards during the Purple-Gold Game (April 20) ... Turned in some of the team's top times in agility drill testing, including a 6.88 clip in the three cone/L drill ... Can bench press 280 pounds, back squat 360 and power clean 274, while producing jumps 33.5" (vertical) and 112" (broad) ... Initially earned roster position as a walk-on prior to the start of fall camp in 2010 and rapid development almost prompted removal of redshirt during true rookie campaign ... Already stands among ECU's all-time leaders in receptions (2nd/152), TD receptions (4th/17) and receiving yards (3rd/1,763) and ranks among active NCAA career leaders in receptions per game (4th/6.6) and yards per game (11th/76.7) ... Has posted four double-digit career reception games (2/2011, 2/2012) and hauled down at least one TD pass in 16 of 23 games ... Has nabbed multiple passes in 23-straight games dating back to his Pirate debut in 2011 (South Carolina).
2012: A First-Team All-Conference USA selection as a receiver and second-team choice as punt returner ... 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 ... Also ranked among the school's all-time single-season leaders in receiving TDs (2nd/11) and receptions (3rd/88) ... Caught a single-game program-record 16 passes in the regular season finale against Marshall ... 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) ... Hauled in a career-best two aerial TDs against Memphis ... Caught at least one TD in 10 of 13 games ... Netted a career-best 171 reception yards - fourth-most in ECU single-game in history - against the Herd ... Recorded 100-yard receiving games against South Carolina (111), UCF (119), Memphis (137), UAB (132) and Marshall (171) ... Posted double-digit receptions twice (11/UTEP, 16/MAR) ... Caught at least four passes in all 13 games ... Had 41 plays that went for 10 or more yards (36/receiving, 5/PR) ... Recorded the longest TD reception of the season (76 vs. UCF) ... Returned 20 punts for 175 yards (8.8 avg) ... Registered the longest punt return of the season with a 43-yarder vs. ASU ... Also had a 41-yard punt bring-back against Houston ... Closed year with a five-catch, 59-yard and one-TD effort vs. UL-Lafayette in the R+L Carriers Bowl New Orleans Bowl ... Five of 11 TD receptions covered 20or more yards ... Led all receivers with 12 "big plays" (20-plus yards) ... Stood second on the team in scoring (66 points) and first in all-purpose yards (1,280) ... Rated among C-USA leaders in receptions per game (2nd), 100-yard receiving games (2nd), receiving yards per game (3rd), all-purpose yards (7th) and scoring TDs (8th) ... Selected as the program's team MVP at the Pirates' annual awards banquet.
2011: A breakout performer during first season on the Pirates' active roster, earning Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors ... Also named to the Bleacher Report's Honorable Mention All-Freshman Team and Phil Steele Magazine's All-Freshman Second Team ... Selected as the program's offensive MVP by coaching staff during the program's end-of-the-season awards banquet ... Experienced action in 10 games, making eight starts ... Did not play against Navy and Tulane due to a right knee injury suffered in practice ... Part of the initial offensive lineup against South Carolina, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Houston, Memphis, UTEP, UCF and Marshall ... Ended the campaign owning East Carolina freshman records with 64 receptions and 658 yards, surpassing Jason Nichols' 42 catches and 450 yards in 1994 ... 64 catches are the sixth most recorded in a season in program history ... Tied Larry Shannon (1994) for the Pirates' rookie mark with six touchdown grabs ... Finished the year ranked fourth in Conference USA in receptions per game (6.4) and eighth in receiving yards per game (65.8) ... Also stood 25th nationally in catches per contest and was one of just three freshmen to finish the campaign ranked in the top 75 ... ECU's top receiver in Conference USA games, making 40 grabs for 463 yards ... Finished second on the squad in non-league contests, hauling in 24 passes for 195 yards ... Trailed only kicker Michael Barbour in scoring during league tilts, totaling 30 points on an ECU-high five touchdowns ... Averaged a team second-best 11.6 yards per catch during C-USA action ... Ended the year ranked third on the squad with nine plays of 20 or more yards, including a team-best three touchdowns for 20 or more yards ... Paced the squad with nine receptions covering 20 or more yards ... Registered 33 catches during five games inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and 20 during four road tilts ... For the season, led all receivers with 99 passes intended and was Dominique Davis' favorite target with 97 passes intended (19.6 percent of all Davis' throws) ... Paced the squad with 37 receiving first downs ... Did the most damage on second down, hauling in 27 passes for 16 first downs and four scores ... Targeted 10 times on second-and-short and second-and-middle distances and made all 10 receptions, gaining nine first downs ... On fourth down, caught all four passes intended, turning three receptions into first downs and the other into a touchdown ... Never reached 100 yards receiving in a game, but collected 90 or more three times, twice during the first three weeks of the season with 91 and 90-yard efforts against South Carolina and UAB, respectively ... During the season finale at Marshall, set career high with 92 yards receiving ... Made three receptions for 40 yards in the fourth quarter, including two grabs that netted 28 yards during the Pirates' 15-play, 82-yard touchdown march to tie the game with 14 second remaining ... Hauled in a seven-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against UCF, giving him scores in four of last five games played ... Hauled in a team-leading seven balls for 64 yards, including a three-yard touchdown in the third quarter, versus Southern Miss ... Completed a 51-yard pass to Andrew Bodenheimer on a halfback pass in the first quarter at Memphis ... In the third frame versus the Tigers, caught third career touchdown pass on a personal-long 58-yard reception ... Made five receptions in both halves against North Carolina, but held a 43-30 edge in yards during the opening half ... Scored first career touchdown, and ECU's initial TD of the season, during the opening quarter versus South Carolina with a 25-yard grab ... Finished the first frame against the Gamecocks with three receptions for 46 yards and the score ... Caught a career-high 11 passes in debut against South Carolina.
2010: Served as a valuable member of the scout teams and redshirted during initial season ... Used as a scout quarterback on occasion to emulate scrambling, run-oriented or option-based signal callers.
High School: A two-year letterman and senior team captain for coach Kevin Yost at West Craven High School ... Compiled 2,500 passing yards and 35 touchdowns in 2009 to earn all-area, all-conference and offensive player-of-the-year honors ... Added 1,500 rushing yards and 10 scores for the Eagles ... Made 80 receptions for 1,001 yards and nine TDs during junior season ... Named to the all-area and all-conference squads in 2008 ... Picked two additional letters as a shooting and point guard on the basketball floor and another in track as a high jumper.
Personal: Full name is Justin Hardy ... Born December 18, 1991 at Washington, N.C. ... Son of Sam and Tara Hardy ... Brother Bryan, a quarterback, played collegiate football at South Carolina State before transferring to Fayetteville State ... A sports studies major who earned inclusion on ECU's Honor Roll (3.0 grade point average or higher) for academic work during back-to-back semesters (spring and fall of 2011) ... Lists the Pirate fan base as the best thing about playing football at East Carolina ... Says Jerry Rice is his favorite all-time NFL player ... Hobbies include basketball and music.