Irish offer four-star athlete
Notre Dame had no doubt about offering four-star athlete Mecole Hardman.
It likely won’t be as easy for the Irish staff to determine where to play the 5-foot-11, 172-pounder from Elbert County High School in Elberton, Ga.
“Different schools have me at wide receiver and some have me at corner,” Hardman said. “Most of them have me at athlete. I don’t have a preference; it’s just wherever the school needs me at.”
Hardman accounted for more than 1,500 yards of offense in just seven games as a junior and was just as dominant on defense where he picked off a pair of passes and shut down his side of the field.
Notre Dame’s interest in Hardman began about a week ago when Irish assistant Scott Booker reached out on Twitter. The two talked a couple of times before Booker extended the offer.
“He told me to call them up and I called coach Booker and they offered me a scholarship,” Hardman said. “Me and coach Booker just started talking this week and they offered me. It feels great. Notre Dame is a great program and they’ve been doing good things the past couple years. It’s a good offer.”
The Irish encouraged Hardman to visit campus as soon as possible. That’s something he’d like to do but the logistics of making that trip might push it into next fall.
“They want me to come up to their junior day on March 21. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it or not. I’m just talking to my parents and everybody to see if I could actually get up there,” he said. “I’ll probably end up taking an official up there or something. I’ll have to work it out.”
Hardman, who now holds 20 offers, has already visited some of the nearby schools and hopes to see several more this summer.
“I visited Tennessee, Georgia and I got a couple visits to Auburn and North Carolina,” he said. “Hopefully in the summer I’ll get to see Ole Miss and Florida State again and hopefully Florida. I’m just trying to get out this summer to see a lot of schools so I can narrow down my list to either at top eight or top five and then go from there.”
As a junior, Hardman played in the first two games of the 2014 season before suffering a knee injury in the third. He returned in the final game of the regular season then played in all three of Elbert County’s playoff games.
He earned a reputation as one of the area’s top players.
“I bring everything to the table; speed, playmaking ability,” he said. “When the ball is in my hands I make plays. I’m just looking to get into the end zone. On defense, I’m lock down. You throw it to my side it’s liable to be picked or knocked down so most teams throw away from me.”
Hardman’s older brother, Valdon Cooper, played cornerback at Illinois before transferring to Georgia Southern in 2012 for his sophomore season.