An All-MIAA standout, Pittsburg State cornerback KiAnte Hardin brings big game pedigree as a transfer from Minnesota. A versatile player who also returns kicks, the former high school track star is a weapon with the ball in his hands and is a threat to score on any interception or return opportunity. Hardin had four interceptions in 2019, along with 15 pass deflections and 27 tackles, while averaging 14.4 yards per punt return in 11 games. Get to know the Missouri native, as he discusses some of his best attributes, toughest opponent and why he’s ready to take his game to the next level.
Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? When did you begin playing football and when did you realize that you have a passion for the game of football?
I grew up in a small town called Webb City, Missouri. I started playing football at the age of four and I think the passion for me began at eight years old.
When a NFL scout pops in your game film, what type of player should they expect to see?
A versatile player that possess elite speed and ball skills.
What was your offseason like heading into 2019 and what areas of your game did you work on to improve upon?
My offseason consisted of me coming off of a season-ending injury and working to get physically and mentally prepared for the upcoming season.
What type of leadership intangibles do you bring to the table? Explain your leadership style.
I think I’m more of a lead-by-example type of leader. I’m ultra-completive and I like to bring out the best in my teammates.
Name a point during your college career when you had to overcome adversity. What did you learn from that experience?
Last year, I tore my MCL and I think I realized how precious the opportunity to play this game is and got a sense of appreciation for getting back to that point.
What was it like growing up in your hometown? Did you live any other places?
Growing up in my hometown was a fun experience. The community consists of die-hard Webb City football fans and the atmosphere was especially ecstatic in the fall.
Who has been the toughest opponent you have faced thus far in your career, either overall team or an individual? How did you fare?
The toughest opponent I have faced would definitely have to be playing against Ohio State as a true freshman. Going into the game, I was playing on various special teams but not actually seeing the field on defense. Unfortunately, my teammate got hurt and I was thrusted into action. We didn’t end up winning the game ,but I was able to hold my own against the team I had just seen playing in the national championship the year before.
What is something people might not know about you or something that separates you from other players?
I think what separates me is always being overlooked, which leads to me always playing with a chip on my shoulder. Also I love playing the board game “Settlers of Catan.”
If you could bring one teammate with you, who would you bring?
I couldn’t choose one but I’d definitely bring Lorenzo West and Simanua Thomas.
*The ninth annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will be held on Saturday, January 18th at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Be sure to tune in on NFL Network at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST!