While many expected that he would inevitably sign with the Georgia Bulldogs on National Signing Day, being able to keep Mecole Hardman, Jr. in-state was a huge get for the 2016 recruiting class at UGA.
Hardman was a five-star athlete coming out of Elbert County High School in Elberton, GA and was the No. 1 athlete in his high school graduating class. He has the raw athletic ability to become either a vertical threat wideout or a shutdown island cornerback.
Head coach Kirby Smart will have to figure out which side of the ball to play Hardman on, but will have a dynamic athlete lining up somewhere on the outside for the Dawgs for the next few years. Given that he’s a little slight of build and that Smart is a former defensive back himself, I see Mecole Hardman, Jr. being able to compete as a true freshman in nickel of dime packages in the UGA secondary.
With Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker having great backgrounds as defensive back teachers, Hardman will get every opportunity to become the best cornerback to play for the Dawgs since Champ Bailey. UGA already has a star in the making in safety Dominick Sanders.
Could Hardman become the key piece in the Georgia Bulldogs’ secondary that gives the Dawgs an elite secondary to go out and win a National Title in the next few years? Potentially, but Hardman will get his shot at playing big snaps at defensive back this fall, even if he didn’t enroll early for Spring Semester 2016.
Next: 2. Jacob Eason