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Former 4-star recruit JQ Hardaway commits to Kentucky

Hardaway held offers from Georgia, Florida, USC, and Oregon among others as a high school recruit.

Kennesaw State v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats have landed another transfer, this one being Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback JQ Hardaway

After hosting Hardaway for a visit this past weekend, Hardaway decided to announce his decision Thursday on Twitter, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

UK watched starting cornerback Carrington Valentine leave for the NFL Draft earlier today, which means getting Hardaway is a massive addition for the secondary.

A 6-foot-3, 200-pounder out of Central High School in Alabama, Hardaway was the 192nd-ranked recruit and 15th-best safety in the 2022 class via 247 Sports, though he ended up playing cornerback.

Hardaway committed to Cincinnati while holding offers from the Georgia Bulldogs, Florida Gators, Tennessee Volunteers, USC Trojans, Ole Miss Rebels, and Oregon Ducks among many others.

As a true freshman, Hardaway played 93 snaps this season, recording five tackles and a sack while allowing just three receptions on seven targets, according to Pro Football Focus. He recently entered the transfer portal after head coach Luke Fickell left Cincinnati for Wisconsin.

While Hardaway is still young in terms of playing experience at the collegiate level, this is still a major get for Mark Stoops and Co., especially since he’ll have at least two seasons left in college and up to four more seasons if he chooses to stay that long. He’ll be a strong contender to be a starting boundary corner next season.

Hardaway becomes the third transfer to pick UK, joining Alabama guard Tanner Bowles and Northern Illinois tackle Marques Cox, the latter of which committed earlier today.

In the ESPN college football transfer portal rankings, Hardaway was ranked 15th overall as of Thursday afternoon. 247 Sports has him ranked ninth overall and third among cornerbacks currently in the portal.

Losing a quality veteran like Carrington Valentine certainly stings, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better long-term replacement than Hardaway.

Now, check out some high school highlights of the newest Wildcat in action!

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