The D Zone

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cortez Hardrick - 2012 Athlete

The OAA-Red division has been consistently tough throughout the years, with Clarkston and Lake Orion receiving all the headlines.  In 2011 there are plenty of sleeper teams who have great chances at knocking off the big dogs.  One is the West Bloomfield Lakers, who are coming off of 3-6 season but return many great players, one being Cortez Hardrick who plays wide receiver, safety and kick returning.

The Lakers got off to a rough start in 2010, winning once in their first 5 games.  That win was against Royal Oak who has not won a game in over three seasons.  With returning players it brings back a lot of experience and mistakes players made as juniors are often fixed during their senior seasons.  The Lakers had some close games in 2010, Hardrick shares what his goal is for the 2011 season, "I want to help make my team reach the playoffs and go far. I'm willing to put the team on my back and do whatever it takes to make our goals be reached. I want to make all league and all states awards."

Since the Lakers closed out the season with a 28-30 loss to Pontiac, Hardrick has been working out and preparing for the upcoming season, "Since last season I have been working out tremendously with my teammates, playing for Maximum Exposure 7 on 7 team that have made it to nationals, and have made many colleges visits this off season."

Often times during the high school level you see many players who play both sides of the ball.  However there are very few players who not only play on offense and defense, but players who play on special teams.  For Cortez Hardrick he also does kickoff and punt returns.  Hardrick takes great pride in playing all four of those positions.  Hardrick explains why he is out there, basically until his coach pulls him out, "Playing both sides of the ball and special times is a great thing to me. I hate coming off the field and I want to have a big impact on my team because I am a play maker so I have to make plays."  Hardrick also explains what his favorite position is, "right now I am being recruited as a wide receiver but I also play free safety. I love scoring touchdowns but I also love to make interceptions. In college I will play wide receiver."

Before 2010 the Lakers had three straight seasons of four losses, two seasons they went 5-4 but did not get a playoff spot, then when West Bloomfield went 6-3 coming into the playoffs they lost in the first round to Livonia Stevenson in 2008.  Having a winning record and reaching the playoffs is still a great accomplishment, especially when the last time the Lakers made the playoffs was 2000.  If the Lakers are going to start a new winning tradition, they first must turn things from 2010 around.  Hardrick explains what it will take to turn things around at West Bloomfield, “In order to get something that you never had before you have to do something that you never done before so my team has to set higher standards and reach goals we have never met before. It’s a want and it will be determined by how bad we want to win this season. There will be a lot of eyes watching us this year."

If the Lakers are going to have any success during 2011, they must take care of business in the OAA-Red.  That will not be easy as Lake Orion and Clarkston will be solid as usual and teams such as Rochester, Troy and even Royal Oak will be a lot better than previous seasons.  Hardrick explains what it will take to win the OAA-Red division in 2011, "The division is tough but I don't see any team in the division that is better than us this year honestly. Our team has a lot of talent and now with some experience on how it feels to have a bad season from 2010, we will make a change!"  If Hardrick had to choose which game he thinks will be the biggest, he choose the Lakers rivals and defending division 1 state champions, Lake Orion, "The biggest game will be against Lake Orion not only because they are a rival team but they are the ones on top in the division. I want to knock off the top teams and prove to everyone that we are good."  West Bloomfield gets a chance to take out the Dragons in week 4.  If the Lakers can win against Clarkston in week two, this game will draw plenty of attention (West Bloomfield vs. Lake Orion).

Hardrick took a moment to comment on some of the contributors for the West Bloomfield Lakers in 2011, "Kimani Elliot playing corner and some running back, Kyle Croskey playing both offensive and defensive line, Daryn Byrd the starting quarterback, CJ Brathwaite the running back and some corner, Terry Stuckey playing slot, Chauncey Briggs playing both offensive and defensive line, and Jalen Campbell playing running back and linebackers. Our team has talented players and will do well this year."

As for possibly playing football at the next level, Hardrick is not the only player at West Bloomfield being recruited to play at the next level, "Our school and team have been receiving a lot of recruitment this off season with college coaches coming to see us. We have also been changed to a Nike sponsored school now so we have all new equipment all Nike sponsored."

Hardrick closed with saying he has not received any scholarship offers yet but has been getting attention from colleges across the Midwest, "I have interest from Michigan Sate, Cincinnati, Iowa, Bowling Green, Toledo, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan."