Mecole Hardman has now visited Rocky Top twice in a month’s span. The Elbert County (Ga.) High star made his way to Knoxville on July 19 for his second “Orange Carpet Day” and came away even more impressed with the Vols.
Impressed enough for the defensive back to name Tennessee his leader.
“They’re No. 1 on the list right now,” Hardman said. “I loved everything about the visit. The first ‘Orange Carpet Day’ I (saw) some of the stuff, but the main reason I came back the second time was to bring my parents up to let them see.”
He admitted committing was something he “thought about” while on campus, but Hardman plans to let the recruiting process play out before giving his declaration to a program.
“I’m not ready to commit,” the Scout four-star prospect said. “I’m gonna weigh all my options first, take all my visits and see which (school) I like first before I make my commitment.”
While the Vols currently hold the top spot for the Peach State prospect, they’ll have a tough time keeping it. Hardman, rated by Scout as the No. 18 cornerback and No. 191 overall player for 2016, mentioned Clemson, Miami, Penn State and Wisconsin as others rounding out his top group.
Noticeable omissions from the list include a pair of programs not too far from Hardman that have yet to extend scholarship offers.
“I mean, Georgia Tech’s recruiting me all right, but Georgia … (neither team) has offered yet so I haven’t had much to go off of,” the 5-foot-11, 165-pounder said. “If you’re not offering me or showing me interest I don’t see why you’d be in my top (group of schools) if you’re not showing me a lot of interest.”
Though Georgia may be running late thus far, Hardman is still looking for an offer from the nearby Dawgs.
“Possibly I’ll visit Georgia and go up there. Hopefully if I did, they’d offer me so I don’t know yet,” the Scout four-star said. “It’d be a big, big deal if my home state (school) offered me. That’d be huge. … but since they haven’t offered me I don’t really look at them like I do the other schools that have offered me.”In addition to a possible stop in Athens, Hardman says he plans to see South Carolina on July 26 and “will hopefully go back to Clemson” before classes resume. Once the season starts, Hardman says he will make it to Knoxville again when the Vols play Alabama (Oct. 25) and Florida (Oct. 4).