McCallie star football player Jay Hardy surprises many: Chooses Auburn over Tennessee

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McCallie star Jay Hardy puts an Auburn hat on his commitment ceremony Wednesday morning. Hardy chose the Tigers in a close call over Tennessee. He had also considered Georgia Tech, Florida and Georgia. PHOTO: WTVC SPORTS.

McCallie's consensus 4-star tight end and defensive end Jay Hardy had five ball caps (Georgia Tech, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia) spread out on a table inside the Blue Tornado basketball gym. Projected to play on the defensive side of the ball, many thought Hardy would choose Tennessee.

But Hardy reached for the Auburn hat, placed it on his head, then stood up with his family, each of them wearing Auburn shirts. He then pulled a stuffed tiger out from underneath the table. He made his last official visit to Auburn this past weekend and made up his mind to choose the Tigers over the Volunteers. "It was a really close fight. But Auburn really came up with it," Hardy said. "It was a family feeling. My parents liked it from the first day that they visited and they still love it. And that was another thing, they were telling me to still visit Auburn. I might not have even went to Auburn, but they pushed me to take an official and that's when it happened."

He added that the walk-through in Auburn's game against Ole Miss sealed the deal. Hardy said he had always dreamed of this moment but now his focus has turned to "push through for a state championship" in his senior season at McCallie.

Hardy plans on signing with Auburn in February.