Tennessee had long been trending with McCallie School standout lineman Jay Hardy and considering the Volunteers glaring need to add defensive linemen to the program’s 2020 recruiting class, nearly everyone assumed the Chattanooga native was staying within the state’s borders and would be committing to Jeremy Pruitt’s program on Wednesday.

Everyone thinking that was wrong.

Coming off an official visit to Auburn for the Ole Miss game, Hardy shocked the recruiting world by picking the Tigers during a ceremony at McCallie School on Wednesday morning. Hardy’s over finalists were Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound prospect rates as a four-star prospect, the No. 5 strongside defensive end, Tennessee’s No. 5 overall prospect and a top 120 recruit nationally by 247Sports Composite Rankings. His “Crystal Ball” by 247Sports projections were 100 percent in favor of Tennessee leading up to his decision.

Following Hardy’s commitment, Auburn now has 19 total commitments for the 2020 recruiting cycle — Hardy is the fourth-highest rated prospect in the class.

Gus Malzahn’s latest recruiting class currently ranks No. 8 nationally and No. 5 in the SEC for the 2020 cycle. Hardy joins Daniel Foster-Allen as the only defensive linemen committed to the Tigers class at this point.

To get an idea of what Hardy can bring to Kevin Steele’s defense, check out his junior season McCallie School highlight reel: