Kentucky football lands Cincinnati cornerback JQ Hardaway


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops coaches his team from the sideline during the No. 7 Kentucky vs. No. 14 Ole Miss football game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, at Vaught Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Ole Miss won 22-19. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Samantha Money, Assistant Sports Editor

Kentucky football picked up its second transfer of the day on Thursday when Cincinnati cornerback JQ Hardaway announced his decision to come to Lexington.

Hardaway made the announcement via his social media accounts, posting a video with the caption, “I’m home BBN.”

The decision could not have come at a more opportune moment for the Wildcats with starting cornerback Carrington Valentine declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft earlier in the day.

Hardaway played one season with the Cincinnati Bearcats, where he was on the field for 93 snaps, amassing five tackles and a sack.

247Sports ranked Hardaway as the No. 3 cornerback and No. 9 overall prospect in the transfer portal.

Before committing to Cincinnati as a senior in high school, Hardaway had racked up a respectable amount of offers, including a few notable ones from Georgia, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Florida.

He was the 192nd-ranked recruit and 15th-best safety in the class of 2022 as a four-star prospect.

Hardaway was expected to have a good career at Cincinnati, the same school that was recently home to first-round NFL draft pick Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, but instead became one of many players who entered the transfer portal after head coach Luke Fickell left the Bearcats to coach for Wisconsin.

With both Valentine and veteran cornerback Keidron Smith not returning to Lexington next season Hardaway is sure to be a strong addition for the Wildcats.