SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The nation’s No. 1 athlete has a leader, and it’s not the school some analysts may think is at the top.
Mecole Hardman, Jr., a five-star prospect from Elbert County High School (Bowman, Ga.), told SEC Country after Day 1 of U.S. Army All-American bowl practices that Alabama is his No. 1 school at the moment.
“They are one of the top programs and they stand out to me the most,” Hardman said. “(Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy) Pruitt is now there as well. That’s definitely a boost for them. We’ll see how it goes, though.”
Previously, Hardman has also told SEC Country that he thinks Alabama is the best school “defensively” for him. He is planning to play both cornerback and wide receiver at the next level. Hardman has also said that Alabama has the best gameday experience out of the schools he has visited in the past.
Most recruiting experts believed that Georgia was Hardman’s top school, mainly because of the school’s proximity to his parents and the amount of visits he has taken there. He has said in the past that he would like to go to a school that isn’t too far from home. His house in Bowman, Ga., is less than a 30-minute car ride to Sanford Stadium in Athens.
So what does Georgia need to do to leapfrog Alabama for the top spot?
“They just need to keep being Georgia,” Hardman said. “Alabama is a school that is standing out to me the most, but anything can change. Georgia could become my leader. Tennessee could become my leader. Michigan could, too. But Georgia doesn’t need to do anything. They haven’t been doing anything wrong.”
The 5-foot-10, 169-pounder has already taken official visits to Miami and Michigan. He has one set to TCU on Jan. 22. Hardman cannot take one the following weekend because he’s playing in the USA vs. Canada game the weekend of Jan. 29. He’s thinking about scheduling a visit to either Alabama or Tennessee on Jan. 15.
He’ll make his final decision on National Signing Day.