Each week a Bombers player visits with Ed Tait of bluebombers.com to reminisce about a particular game, or games, that is most memorable for them in their careers in high school, college or professional careers.
Jermarcus Hardrick background:
- Hardrick signed with the Blue Bombers as a free agent in 2016 and has been a fixture on the offensive line since, having missed just three games in the last four years.
- Previous to Winnipeg, he made his CFL debut as a member of the B.C. Lions in 2014 and suited up for eight games with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2015.
- A product of Batesville, Mississippi, Hardrick first attended Fort Scott Community College before transferring to the University of Nebraska, where he started for two years. He had NFL tryouts with Tampa Bay and New Orleans and spent some time with the Arena League’s Utah Blaze before coming to the CFL.
- An energetic player, Hardrick has won over fans with his enthusiastic play and zeal for life. His ‘Hardrick Hop’ – similar to the Lambeau Leap in Green Bay – has become a fixture whenever the Bombers score a TD at IG Field.
- Hardrick was a West Division All-Star in 2017.
- Growing up, Hardrick and his best friend, Mario Lewis, were always seen hanging out together (they would later find out they were half-brothers). That led to him being nicknamed ‘Yoshi’, after a character in the Super Mario World video game.
“I go back to my days at South Panola High School for my most-memorable game and an important one in my life.
“I was the class clown back then. I never did anything to get kicked out of school, but I was always doing things to get me in-school detention. It could be just me being too loud in class or not listening to the teacher. Then you have go to in-school detention for the rest of the day. But our team rule was if you had in-school detention on any of the five days during game week you couldn’t play in that week’s game.
“So, I wasn’t acting the best, got into a little trouble, and hadn’t played football for a couple of weeks. Then I came back for a big playoff game. I had been playing offensive tackle and a little bit of defensive end, but when I got into that little bit of trouble I got moved to tight end because I missed so many games and the other guy replacing me was starting to playing good.
“All week we were all hearing about this star player they had. So, when I came back I ended up catching a ball that catching a touchdown in that game that sent us to the next round of the playoffs. It’s funny, when I go home that’s the only thing people remember. They don’t remember anything other than the catch I had against Tupelo High School.
“Actually, a guy asked me about that play recently and I sent it to him because I still have the clip. He said I looked like a gazelle. I said I looked more like a turtle. I’ve been begging LaPo (Paul LaPolice), Buck (Pierce) anybody over the last few years to get me the ball.
“Anyway, when I think about things that happened in my career – things that flipped my life – I think about that moment.
“I wasn’t really taking football or school serious at the time. Our team had never lost a football game. I was going to be part of a trail of guys who were good in high school but never made it to college. I was falling into that trap. After that I started to get some attention from colleges. Plus, being out of football for two-three weeks made me take more advantage of it and made me realize what we had.
“On top of that, the first hurt I ever really had… my mom drove to a game in Horn Lake, but when she got there I wasn’t on the sidelines. It was the first time I had ever got suspended for a game and I didn’t tell her. She called me on that. I remember I had to turn around a lot from that.
“It was really my second chance… my coach, he could have just thrown me on the bench when I came back because the guy who replaced me was playing so well. But they made another position for me and it revamped my career and gave me a chance for college.”