Four years ago, Kevin Hart became the most infamous college football recruit ever.
Everyone knows the story of Hart, a burly offensive lineman who shares his name with a diminutive comedian of no relation. The football-playing Hart lied about his recruitment by Cal in 2008 and even scheduled an announcement at which he donned a Bears hat over Oregon and soaked in the cheers from fans in tiny Fernley, NV.
But as we know, Hart was never headed to what then was known as the Pac-10. In fact, Cal had barely even heard of Hart. But he carried on the charade long enough that he claimed to be duped into thinking he was being recruited by Cal before admitting that was a lie, too.
Hart just wished he could play in Berkeley and become the first from his town to land a Division I football scholarship.
“When I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality. I am sorry for disappointing and embarrassing my family, coaches, Fernley High School, the involved universities and reporters covering the story,” Hart said at the time, according to the Associated Press.
But now four years removed from an embarrassing incident that made national headlines, Hart is back on the recruiting trail.
This past fall, he finished his sophomore season at Feather River College – a two-year community college in Quincy, CA, which is about a two-hour drive from his Nevada residence. Hart spent much of his childhood in Oakley, CA, which is close to the Bay Area. This past season the Golden Eagles finished 5-5.
According to his Facebook page, Hart is taking recruiting visits in hopes that he will take his 6-foot-5, 315-pound frame to a four-year school – even if it’s not the school of his dreams. It’s unclear why Hart was only a sophomore last fall but 27% of the population is Mormon so he may have served an LDS mission.
Hart responded to a post on his page on January 15 by commenting that his choices are between Division II schools Concordia University in St. Paul, MN, and Missouri Western in Saint Joseph, MO.
On January 4, Hart posted the following on his Facebook page: “Really thought I was close to making decision but after tonight things are wide open again, crazy!! Going on to St Paul on the 14th then Missouri Western on the 21st”
And when a friend commented that he thought Hart was set on a trip to St. Paul, Hart responded by saying he was until Missouri Western called in early January and “started talking offer and a visit so it’s back open u know how much I like Western.”
Yes, we know you like Western, Kevin, because you actually “liked” the school’s athletic page on Facebook. So it’s not a surprise that Hart is enjoying the recruitment process that he apparently never had four years ago and making it public through social media.
According to this piece by Tom Friend for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Hart did get recruiting letters while in high school but let the attention go to his head. He turned what essentially were letters sent out in bulk to prospective college football players into assurances in his own mind that he was going to become a Division I athlete, the story said.
The OTL piece also described Hart’s poor grades and the academic transcripts that he delivered to Washington – a school that had reportedly shown more interest than most – but never heard back from after he paid his way for a visit to the Seattle school.
“I went up there, I liked it, but I didn’t really think they knew who I was very much,” Hart said, according to the OTL piece.
College football recruiters know him now, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. But based on the revelations from his Facebook page, Hart still has a chance for a positive career on the Division II gridiron.
And this time it’s for real.