Hardy heading to UL-Monroe, Cato inks to play two sports at CLCC

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Lawrence County football coach Jesse Anderson had a luxury that few of his peers possessed over the last couple years as he designed the Cougar offense around two dynamic players in seniors Ahmad Hardy and Kannon Cato.

On Wednesday in the Lawrence County gymnasium, Hardy and Cato charted the next chapter of their athletic and academic journey by signing letters-of-intent.

Hardy is taking his talent to Monroe, Louisiana as he signed on to next play for the Sun Belt Conference member Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.

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Cato is headed to Wesson, where he’ll play both football and baseball for the Wolf Pack of Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Hardy was the 2023 Daily Leader All-Area Co-MVP after carrying the ball 220 times for 2,442 yards and 27 touchdowns during his senior campaign. An MAC All-State selection, he averaged 187 yards per game for a 7-6 Lawrence County squad.

With a punishing running style, the muscular Hardy averaged 11.1 yards per carry and had a career best 400-yard game on 16 carries against Sumrall.

ULM is under the direction of a new head coach in Bryant Vincent. Vincent had glowing praise of Hardy in a signing day release by the school.

“Ahmad runs with speed and power, he is the type of running back we look for in this offense and that we can put in the pistol and get downhill,” said Vincent. “He can run through you, he can run by you, and he can hit the big ones. In my opinion, I felt Ahmad was the best running back in the state of Mississippi, and to be able to get him here in this class is a big deal to help us in what we are trying to build.”

Cato lined up at quarterback over the past two seasons and was equally dangerous with the ball in his hands. A Daily Leader All-Area selection who was also tabbed for the MAC All-State team this season, Caton passed for 349 yards and four scores as a senior while also rushing 127 times for 1,267 yards and 24 scores. He was also a dangerous return-man, scoring twice on kickoff returns for the Cougars on their march to the third round of the MHSAA 4A playoffs.

Listed as an athlete by Co-Lin upon his signing, CLCC head coach Glenn Davis expects his staff will find ways to get the ball into Cato’s hands.

“We’ll probably figure out his position officially when camp starts, but he’s going to get a long look as a wide receiver,” said Davis. “That way we could use him and get the ball in his hands in other ways too.”

Cato has long been feared on the basepaths as one of the speediest baseball players in this part of the state. When football season is finished, he’ll play baseball in Wesson for coach Adam Chamblee and the Wolf Pack, as he does for LC baseball coach Seth Avants.

“Ahmad and Kannon were great players for us and will be greatly missed,” said Anderson of the duo. “I am excited they both get to opportunity to continue playing the sports they love and look forward to watching their continued growth and development at the next level.”