What I Learned Watching: Sage Hardin

DECATUR - Dean Legge reviews Marist OL Sage Hardin's performance against Lithonia.

The problem with watching Sage Hardin is that he’s spending half of the game diving on the ground at the ankles of the person in front of him.

Its difficult to get used to. I watched Hardin play Lithonia in the fall of 2014. Obivoulsy, physically he’s just so much bigger than everyone else that’s something obvious that jumps out right away. He plays left tackle for Marist, which is a little like a vegetarian finding something to eat at a steakhouse - it doesn’t happen very often.

Nearly every down Hardin is in a four-point stance - again - something that will never happen for a college player unless he’s playing for one of the academies or Georgia Tech.

You have to keep all of those things in mind when taking a look at Hardin. You don’t get a ton of opportunities to truly gauge where he’s at because he doesn’t have many chances to prove what he’s got playing in Marist’s option-based attack.

Still, he does a good job of a few things. First, Hardin doesn’t stand up much. He’s a tall lineman, and the natural feeling of a tall person is to stand up once the ball is snapped. He does a good job of staying low to the ground. Much of that is likely due to playing in a four-point stance, but he still accomplishes it.

Second, Hardin does a nice job of attacking the defender in front of him and driving them as much as possible. Its great to see that because that’s something an offensive lineman has to do a good job of. However, he’s really not challenged very much to get to the next level (the linebacker) in Marist’s system very often - at least not from what I saw.

Hardin totally has the frame to be a very good pass protector in the future, but that’s just not something you are going to see while watching him play high school football. He’s smart and big. I wonder if he’s too tall to play center in college, but that won’t be an issue with quarterbacks the size of Brice Ramsey and Jacob Eason in tow.

I know how effective the option can be in high school football. But it is a difficult measuring stick for college players. Hardin is going to need time to grow into his body as well as into the realities of Georgia’s pro-style offense.

There are a many of critics of Georgia taking Hardin. I disagree. Unlike the typical private school prospect, in many ways Hardin is still raw. He’s got a ton of learning to do. He’s got a great body to work with in the future; he could probably play each position on the offensive line. I would have certainly signed one Sage Hardin to a scholarship; I would not have signed two.

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