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National Signing Day 2016: Mecole Hardman Sticks With Coach Smart, Picks UGA


High school football prospects always seem to pick new ways to announce their collegiate commitment, especially given the kind of platform National Signing Day provides.

The top-rated "athlete" by 247 Sports' composite scoring system, Mecole Hardman Jr. set out four cakes: one for Tennessee, one for Michigan, one for Florida, and one for Clemson. He chose none of them, but wound up going to the most logical choice.

After bursting through a banner in front of cheering fans, Hardman revealed he would follow Kirby Smart to Georgia.

According to SB Nation, Hardman named Alabama his top choice in early January, when Smart was still the Tide's defensive coordinator. When Smart became Georgia's head coach, the Elberton, Ga. native was a natural fit for the Bulldogs.

As an "athlete," Hardman does not has a set position and can play either wide receiver or cornerback, but he seems to be leaning toward the latter. He is exceedingly athletic and Smart's track record with Alabama seems to make Hardman's decision easy, but he is not ruling out getting some offensive touches.

"Probably corner," Hardman told 247 Sports late last month. "I think long-term DB, but I would also like to try offense and get the ball in my hands."

The Bulldogs will be deep in the defensive backfield next season, so Hardman may be freed up to line up on offense from time to time. ESPN's evaluation noted Hardman has experience playing quarterback, which could make him an intriguing player to plug in for the occasional trick play.

Per 247 Sports' composite rankings, Smart's first recruiting class at Georgia ranks sixth overall and Hardman is his third five-star recruit.

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