Six teams received a special gift shortly after the New Year’s ball dropped in Times Square. They had one more reason to raise a glass of champagne and toast to this guy that is still considering their program.
Mecole Hardman, Jr., a five-star athlete from Elbert County High School (Bowman, Ga.), tweeted that Alabama, UGA, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida and Clemson are in his top six. He told SEC Country why each school was in the mix.
On Alabama: “They are a top program with a good coaching staff. The campus is great and I love the football atmosphere. They also have coach (Nick) Saban.”
On Clemson: “I love coach (Dabo) Swinney and love what he is doing at Clemson. They have a great campus and it is small, which is good, and it’s really close to home as well.”
On Georgia: “It’s my hometown. They have great coaches and a great environment. With coach (Kirby) Smart coming in, I think he can take it to a new height.”
On Florida: “I love the coaching staff, plus they are losing some key defensive backs, so I think I can come play right away.”
On Michigan: “I love everything about them. They have a lot of NFL experience on the staff. They’re a great football school with a great environment.”
On Tennessee: “They have been there from the beginning, and I love all the coaches. The campus life is also great. Coach Butch (Jones) is taking them to the top.”
The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder has taken official visits to Miami and Michigan thus far. Even though the Horned Frogs are not in his top six, he will take an official visit to TCU on Jan. 22. The other two visits remain unknown, he says.
Most in the recruiting industry feel like UGA and Alabama have the best chance to land the nation’s No. 1 athlete when he decides to commit. He has visited UGA numerous times and told DawgNation that this past trip to Athens, which was his first under new head coach Kirby Smart, was his best. He has also said that Alabama would be the best program from a defensive-scheme standpoint for him. It also needs to be noted that the Crimson Tide hired Jeremy Pruitt to be their defensive coordinator. Before UGA decided to part ways with Pruitt, Hardman pretty much made a public plea for the team to keep him.
Hardman is expected to play cornerback, wide receiver and kick returner/punt returner at the next level. College football fans can and should expect him to be something similar like USC’s Adoree Jackson, who the Trojans make sure is on the field as much as he possibly can be.
The nation’s top athlete will announce his commitment on National Signing Day, which falls on Feb. 3, 2016.