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Former Eagle now a Miami Dolphin

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Former Eagle now a Miami Dolphin

JASON FARMER/NEWS-SUN

He might not have been drafted like TCU’s Aubrey Linne (1961) or Texas Tech’s Timmy Smith (1987), but former Eagles quarterback Gavin Hardison is the third Hobbs graduate heading to the National Football League. Saturday night, after the conclusion of the 2024 NFL draft, Hardison signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent.

“I have a good agent and we were able to find an opportunity to for me to have the opportunity to play at the next level,” Hardison said. “I am going to go in and compete. The Miami deal worked out and I am happy that I am a Dolphin.”

The moment was a special one for Hardison and his family.

“(My family was excited. They were extremely excited the 2018 Hobbs graduate said. “I was excited too. It was a pretty crazy moment. Not a lot of people do (this) Hobbs, so it was a cool moment for sure.”

Hardison, a 2018 Hobbs graduate, spent the weekend with his family watching the draft. While the Hobbs graduate was not among the 257 names called over the three-day process, the event was still a fun and exciting one for Hardison as he got to watch two of his University of Texas El Paso teammates, Elijah Klein and Tyrice Knight had their names selected.

“It was a unique experience, but I knew I was going to get my opportunity one way or another,” Hardison said. “It was awesome. It was really cool to hear their names called and have an opportunity to play at the next level.”

Joining Hardison in the Dolphins camp will be UTEP teammate offensive lineman Andrew Meyer.

“It is cool to have a familiar face and to know someone who is going to be going with you,” Hardison said of heading to Miami with UTEP teammate Andrew Meyer. “I am excited. I have played a lot of games with Andrew. It is going to be fun.”

The NMAA single-season passing record holder will be the fourth quarterback on the Dolphins’ roster. Miami’s three other quarterbacks are Tua Tagovailoa, the starter, while Mike White and Skylar Thompson are backups.

According to Hardison, the Dolphins will hold their rookie minicamp about two weeks. Miami is slated to host its Organized Team Activities (OTAs) over the last two weeks of May.

“I think it is going to be fun,” Hardison said of joining the Dolphins’ quarterback room. “It is going to be cool. They seem like they are pretty good dudes from the outside looking in. I am excited to go in, be a good teammate, and try to get better every day.”

The Hobbs graduate is not scared of having to earn his way onto the team or work for playing time as an undrafted free agent.

There have been several quarterbacks, Tony Romo, Kurt Warner, Jeff Garcia, Jake Delhomme, and Warren Moon to name a few, in the NFL who have had success despite not being drafted. Moon and Warner are now in the NFL Hall of Fame. Other notable undrafted quarterbacks include Bobby Hebert, Doug Flutie, Erik Kramer, Dave Krieg, and Jim Hart.

“It is cool to just have the opportunity to be going in,” Hardison said. “Having this opportunity, I think just controlling what I can control, everything will take care of itself.”

Hardison set the New Mexico Activities Association single-season passing record in 2017 when he led the Eagles to a 9-3 season. As a senior, Hardison passed for 5,347 yards, shattering the record of 4,914 set by Brett Henson in 2003. The for Eagle three highest single game passing yardage totals that year, throwing for 629 yards against Oñate, 615 yards against Artesia, and 588 yards against Mayfield. He also had a game with 534 yards, ninth most in a single game, against Centennial. His 59 touchdown passes that year are the third most in NMAA history.

At the time of his graduation, Hardison was eighth in career TD passes with 93. He has since fallen to No. 10. The former Eagles threw for 8,678 yards in his high school career, fifth most when he graduated and still sixth most in NMAA history.

The Hobbs graduate played his freshman year at the junior college level with New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. After one season with the Broncos, Hardison left for NCAA Division I UTEP.

The former Eagle signal caller played five seasons with the Miners. His best season, statistically, was in 2021 when he completed 198-of-357 for 3,218 yards with 18 touchdowns. Hardison led the Miners to the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque that year where UTEP lost 31-24 to Fresno State.

The Hobbs graduate’s 3,218 yards are the fifth most in a single season in UTEP history.

Over his five-year career with UTEP, Hardison completed 570-of-1,061 passing attempts for 7,963 yards with 40 touchdowns in 38 games played. Hardison leaves UTEP with the third most passing yards in school history.

At NMMI, Hardison played five games, passing for 408 yards and throwing four touchdown passes.

When the former Eagles takes his next snaps, he will be doing so as a member of the Miami Dolphins.

“I feel good. I am happy,” the Hobbs graduate said. “It is pretty crazy, but there is a lot of work left to be done for sure.”

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