The Kentucky Wildcats hosted Cincinnati Bearcats true freshman cornerback JQ Hardaway for a visit this past weekend, according to 247 Sports’ Josh Edwards. Though he has just one season of college football experience, Hardaway looks like someone who could be an instant-impact transfer for Mark Stoops’ defense moving forward.
Hardaway stands 6-foot-2 and is originally from Alabama. He was the No. 15 safety in the nation in 247 Sports 2022 recruiting class, and with several senior defensive backs, the Cats may have several holes to fill.
Add in the fact that head coach Luke Fickell left Cincinnati for Wisconsin, and it is likely that Hardaway will find a new home. The defensive back played 93 snaps this season and recorded five tackles and a sack while surrendering just three receptions on seven targets, according to Pro Football Focus.
It’s not clear where else Hardaway will visit, but it seems he’s aiming for a Power 5 program and won’t be waiting around for Cincinnati to join the Big 12.
Hardaway did have an offer from Florida but ultimately opted to join the Bearcats, a program that did produce one of the best cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft class in Sauce Gardner.
Without Fickell in Cincinnati and with a track record of producing solid NFL-level defenders, Hardaway to Kentucky would make sense. Time will tell if the Cats will be able to lock in Hardaway for the 2023 season.