With his team’s unblemished record on the line and down 18 points at halftime, 5-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. took matters into his own hands in leading Elbert County (Georgia) to a thrilling 44-38 win over Westminster.
According to Jeff Sentell of DawgNation, Hardman rushed for 267 yards and five touchdowns, including the game-winner as time expired.
As Thomas Scott of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailed, Hardman, who plays quarterback for the Blue Devils, simply took the game over in the second half. Three of his scores came after the intermission, and his determination was on full display in the waning moments when the game’s outcome hung in the balance.
On the final drive, after completing a 30-yard pass that set Elbert County just two yards away from the end zone, Hardman scored on a quarterback keeper at the buzzer to lift his team to victory.
His performance showcased why he’s rated as the nation’s top athlete and the No. 25 player overall.
Hardman lined up at corner at The Opening in July, and he exited the event having proven himself as one of the few players in this class who could play more than one position at the next level.
After a strong showing in the offseason camp circuit, in which he dominated different events playing wide receiver and others at corner, Hardman is showing why he’s a special prospect with the ball in his hands.
"It doesn’t matter," Hardman told Bleacher Report on his position preference at The Opening. "I can do whatever you want me to do. If it’s defense, I’m going to lock you down. If it’s receiver, I will produce and make big plays. Different schools like me at different positions."
The 5’10”, 175-pounder released a list of his top 10 schools earlier in the summer. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Stanford and Tennessee made his early cut.
Hardman has already scheduled a few visits that will take place in the coming months.
He attended Tennessee’s loss against Oklahoma on Saturday. Miami and Michigan are also slated to receive official visits from him this season.
He’s also been a frequent visitor on the campuses of Auburn and Georgia in recent months.
As noted by Ryan Callahan of GoVols247, the Bulldogs and the Volunteers are believed to be the front-runners in Hardman’s recruitment.
With a strong start to his senior season, Hardman is showing why he’s one of the nation’s most explosive playmakers in the 2016 class.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.