Meet Brandon Hardin

May 28, 2009

In 2008, most fans probably noticed the cast on special teams gunner Brandon Hardin’s left hand, a result of an injury he sustained during the Utah game. Most fans probably did not realize, however, he actually sustained two separate injuries in that one game, the second was to his right wrist. By being the oldest sibling in his family, he knows how important hard work is, which is why he lives every day trying to be the best role model for his family that he can be, no matter how many injuries he comes across.


How has it been coming back from your injury last year?


The biggest injury I had, a lot of people didn’t even see. I was running around with my cast on my left hand, which was fine because it was my metacarpal so it didn’t really affect my ability to get my hands on people. On my right hand I broke my scaphoid and damaged a ligament. That injury affected me the most because I can’t bend my wrist, so I couldn’t physically grab people with my right hand, and then I had my cast on my left hand that everyone saw. It has been pretty tough trying to come back, but I have been trying to make the best of what I can use my hand for. I am trying to make the best for it every day and eventually it will heal and hopefully by fall camp and I will be 100 percent.


When did your injury occur?


Knowing my luck, they were both in the same game on October 2 against Utah. I broke my finger and broke my wrist. It was a battle throughout the whole year, but I still played and I still got a lot done on special teams. I contributed towards the success of our team, which made me feel great. I know I can play next season even if they injury is still reoccurring.


What are you looking forward to this season?


I am looking forward to getting some time on the field other than with special teams. Every player here comes and wants to have some sort of affect on the team and play on the field. So having a chance to start is great. I haven’t earned it yet, but I am working on it. I am also looking forward to just being able to play with my class that is emerging now and to be a contributing factor to the team.


Describe what it is like to run out of the tunnel on game day…


It’s a great feeling. We don’t have the most extravagant entrance with fog and lights, but the emotion of the crowd and the sound of it before we run out and then we have the band play while we’re running out. The energy in Reser Stadium is unlike anything I have ever experienced. It’s the ultimate rush.


You were runner-up for the “Mirror Man Award” last year, how did that feel?


Honestly I don’t think I look in the mirror that much. The winner was Austin Hall and amazingly we were roommates whenever we had away games and home games. We would joke about it and give each other little jabs about who looks in the mirror more, but he is a good looking guy. I guess they think I am attractive. It’s a funny award. It’s not too bad to be the runner-up, but it’s nice.


What is your biggest Beaver highlight?


My biggest Beaver highlight would have to be the opening tackle of the USC game. I was so pumped up for that game. I was filled with emotion and fear because I did not know exactly what we would be facing. We were facing the number one team that I saw on ESPN every week growing up in Hawai’i and here I was opening kick-off, running down the field and trying to rip of this guy’s head. Austin Hall and I met the returner on the 15 yard line and we just pounded him. It was great to hear to crowd roar and it was the start of what was going to be a great game. We shut them down three-and-out and they had to punt a number of times. It just felt like I started off the game great.


What’s your favorite pro team?


I don’t really have a pro team. Whenever the Super Bowl came on I would pick a team, but growing up in Hawai’I, I never followed a team because Hawai’i doesn’t have a pro football team, but if I had to choose one it would be the Seattle Seahawks because my grandparents live in Seattle. I never really followed an NFL football team. The first time I went to a live NFL football game was when we went down to the Emerald Bowl. We saw San Francisco play against Tampa Bay. It was impressive.


What should fans expect for this upcoming year?


We have got a lot of questions about replacing the secondary and replacing the receiver core, but they should expect nothing less than what they have seen the past few years at OSU. What we want to do is obviously start the year off strong and not stumble at first. We will have emerging players and impact players that you haven’t seen yet like Casey Kjos, Jordan Bishop and Darrell Catchings. They are the receivers that I think are going to emerge and steal the spotlight almost. On the defense we have our linebackers coming back. Our D-line will be stronger than ever being led by Stephen Paea, we will have really good ends outside and our outside linebackers will be great. Bubba (David) Pa’aluhi should be taking over the middle linebacker spot. That should be solid. As far as replacing the secondary, we have a lot of raw talent that needs to be nursed into skill and game time experience. Overall I believe we should one of the better OSU teams you have seen here


If you weren’t in the secondary, where would you play?


Sometimes I think about playing receiver because they are the ones everyone is cheering for and they have the spotlight on them, but then I realize I wouldn’t need people wearing my jersey or chanting my name to have a lasting effect on this team. I am good with being undercover and in the spotlight on defense. I actually like hitting people more. If I wasn’t in the secondary I would probably try outside linebacker. Realistically I wouldn’t fit on the D-line. I would probably fit at safety, but I know I could try outside linebacker if I was not in the secondary.


Why Oregon State?


When I was being recruited, I was recruited by UH (University of Hawai’i) and Oregon State. Oregon State came on toward the end of the recruiting season. I got offered from UH and then I was invited to come on an official visit to Oregon State. The day I came here, it was 23 degrees, sunny and there was snow on the ground. Coming from Hawai’i that was a bit of a change, but it was nice seeing a change. They had one side of the stadium built. They showed us around and showed us the facilities and the plans for the upcoming years. I got to see the locker room and I really wanted to go here. There wasn’t a standing offer yet at the end of the recruiting trip, but when I got the offer, I accepted it on the spot. It was one of the better days of my life. It was great to become an OSU Beaver on that day.


What was it like when you played against Hawai’i last year?


That was very interesting because I had probably 20 family members come up here and they were split down the middle from having UH t-shirts on, to wearing Oregon State t-shirts. My family obviously cheered for the Beavers. I had a couple of high school friends on the other team and of course we did a little playful trash talking. It was nice to face some of the guys I faced in high school. Ultimately getting that win, and not just winning by three, but smashing them, brought some pride. I was able to go home and feel like ‘yeah we won.’ It was just a great win.


What motivates you?


On and off the field I have my family behind me and the strong family support. I am the oldest of all my siblings so I am trying to set an example for them. I almost try to live for them and live as if they were watching me and following my footsteps. That is what motivates me to do well in school, to do well on the football field and to be an overall good person.



To catch up on all of the Meet the Beavers interviews from this season click here.



Beaver Fun Fact: Finished higher than Pac-10 media predicted in each of the last three years.




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