Who knows where Mecole Hardman, Jr., the nation’s No. 1 athlete, is going to play college football?
Hardman will choose from UGA, Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State and Tennessee at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. He told DawgNation that Alabama was still his leader heading into his decision.
His teammates would seem to be a good place to start. They are the ones who know his real name is Carey Mecole Hardman, Jr. and that he can do just about anything he wants to athletically, but that he can’t dance.
They reveal he’s really not as cocky or as confident as everyone might think he is. They describe him as the teammate who is always pushing his peers to do their best, too. Yet they also know the good stuff: He used to cry every once in awhile in rec ball when he did something wrong.
The 5-star prospect, who plays basketball and football for Elbert County (Elberton, Ga.), was in action on Tuesday night for the first time in about a month. All-star games and recruiting visits have kept him off the hardwood. Look for him to start out at cornerback and returning kicks at the college level, but he should evolve into playing some receiver, too.
Which school do his teammates think the nation’s No. 13 overall player will sign with on Wednesday? Their answers ran the gamut of schools.
Where will Hardman sign?
Senior DE/OL/TE Tre’ Blakely: “He keeps saying his decision might surprise a lot of people but I think he will go to UGA because it is close to home, he’s a Momma’s boy who really loves his Mom and all his homeboys like (Jacob) Eason, (Isaac) Nauta and (Ben) Cleveland are all already at UGA. So I think he is going to go to UGA.”
Branson Bonds, the nine-year-old son of his assistant basketball coach and unofficial team manager: “I think he is going to go to the G. Why? Because that’s where I hope he goes. I love Georgia.”
Senior S Tarveil Fortson: “I will say Georgia. I think he fits in better at Georgia those other schools.”
Sophomore DB/WR Tay Huff: “I think he is going to Georgia. That’s like his almost his hometown because it isn’t too far down the road. I just think he does not want to get too far away from his family.”
Junior CB/WR Joseph Johnson: “I think he is going to go to Tennessee because at first when he started out with this recruiting he was really high on Tennessee, but then now it slowed down and people weren’t really thinking about Tennessee. They were all thinking about Ohio State and Georgia and everywhere else. People really forgot about Tennessee. I think he is going to come back and choose the place he liked at first before everyone else came in on him.”
Senior shooting guard Tanner Mills: “I think he will go to Ohio State. I think his decision will throw everyone off. I believe a lot of people think they know where he’s going, but I think he’s going to choose Ohio State and really shock everybody with it.”
Junior LT Worley Robinson: “I think it is between Georgia and Tennessee…. He wears a Georgia key chain all the time and he has a Tennessee hat he really loves. If I had to choose one school, I really don’t know. I guess I would say Georgia because he is getting a lot of pressure at school and around town to go there.”
Sophomore DB/WR Jacquavius Ramsey: “I think he is going to Georgia. That just seems like the team for him.”
Junior G/F Tarodrick Stanley: “I hope he goes to Georgia, but I can really seeing him throwing everybody off like by going to Ohio State or Miami. I think most people in town want to see him go to Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. I think if he went to one of those schools then they would all be cool with any decision he made among those three.”
Senior DE/TE/K Montavious Tinch: “I think he is going to go to Georgia because all the people he has been talking about, they also went to Georgia so I think he will go there. I think if he doesn’t choose UGA then it will be to Alabama. It could really also be Alabama.”
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.