North Texas State University (now, the University of North Texas)
San Francisco 49ers | Oakland Raiders
Many NFL quarterbacks lost sleep on Saturday nights in the fall during the 1970's. The reason, they knew on Sunday afternoon "Big Nasty" was going to be hunting their hides like Elmer Fudd hunting rabbits. Number 86, Cedrick "Big Nasty" Hardman terrorized NFL quarterbacks as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, (1970-1979), and the Oakland Raiders, (1980-1981) amassing 121.5 career sacks along the way.
"Most sacks are gotten on the snap count, on the get-off. That's the one thing the rule makers can't take away from you. My main weapon was speed. If I could get off the ball - I mean, really get off the ball - there would be no contact until I reached the
~ Cedrick Hardman
121.5 Career Sacks
Ranked T#29 All-Time
HT/WT: 6-3, 255 lbs
College: North Texas
NFL Draft: 1970/ Round: 1/ Pick: 9
NFL Team History:
San Francisco 49ers, 1970-1979
Oakland Raiders, 1980-1981
Hardman originally went to North Texas with dreams of becoming an architectural engineer and painting the American landscape with his designs like Franklin Lloyd Wright. However through a twist of fate he walked onto the football team because, "they [the football team] got better and more food than the rest of us at the cafeteria," Hardman recalls. He played as a reserve defensive back in 1966 before sitting out the 1967 season, then was moved back to running back briefly in the spring of 1968. But in fall drills prior to the 1968 season, he was tried at defensive end and found his calling. His combination of quickness and strength overwhelmed offensive lineman and made Hardman a constant threat to opposing quarterbacks.
As a senior in 1969, the 6-3, 255-pound Hardman recorded 30 quarterback sacks in 10 games, including an 11-sack performance against Tulsa in North Texas's homecoming game. His dominant season earned Hardman first-team All-Missouri Valley All-Conference honors, and he was also selected to play in the Blue-Gray Game and the Senior Bowl. He was voted defensive Most Valuable Player in both all-star games recording four sacks in each game.
In 1970, Hardman became the second player from North Texas to be drafted in the first round by the NFL, selected with the ninth overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers. Hardman was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Centennial Team in 2006, and was named to the North Texas All-Century team in 2013.
After a record-setting college career at North Texas, Hardman was selected 9th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 1970. In 1971, Hardman recorded 18 solo regular season quarterback sacks, a benchmark no other 49er has eclipsed over the past 47 NFL seasons. With a career total of 107 sacks, (the 49ers credit Hardman with 112.5 sacks, but accordinng to research by sports historian John Turney, who has reveiwed each play down-by-down, the total is 107), Cedrick is the San Francisco 49ers All-Time Career Sack Leader.
After 10 seasons with the NFC's San Francisco 49ers, Hardman was traded across the Bay to the Oakland Raiders. In his second campaign with the Raiders, the team beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in the New Orleans Super Dome to win Super Bowl XV.
* - Player's career was pre-1982 and the NFL does not recognize these sacks.
Oakland Raiders - Super Bowl XV Champs
Check out Cedrick's acceptance speech from the AA Sports Hall of Fame ceremony in 2007.
"Don't put any limitations on yourself, and don't anyone put any limitations on you."