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B/R Recruiting Notebook: 5-Star Gives Visit '9 out of 10,' Discusses What's Next

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystSeptember 21, 2015

Georgia 5-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. took his first official visit to Miami and has two November visits to Ole Miss and Michigan scheduled.
Georgia 5-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. took his first official visit to Miami and has two November visits to Ole Miss and Michigan scheduled.Credit: 247Sports

The wild finish between Miami and Nebraska on Saturday was only part of a positive weekend for Elberton, Georgia, 5-star Mecole Hardman Jr., the nation's top-ranked athlete in the 2016 class.

Hardman took in his first official visit and said he enjoyed his time at Miami, giving the overall experience a "9 out of 10." The Hurricanes are trying to land a player who has had tons of respect for the program since he was a young boy.

"Miami's always been like a dream school to me," Hardman said. "I went there on an unofficial and loved everything about it. I only was able to stay half a day then, but I loved it. It's a place I'm really considering."

Miami helped to set the bar for Hardman, a 5'10", 175-pound athlete with 4.32-second speed in the 40-yard dash and a 40.4-inch vertical. Hardman has two other official visits scheduled—to Ole Miss the weekend of Nov. 20 and to Michigan the weekend of Nov. 27—and he's looking to finalize his last two officials soon.

"With Michigan, I have a lot of confidence in the new coaching staff," Hardman said. "I think there's a big future for them. I'm looking forward to going there and seeing something new. I live in the south, so going to the north is something I'm excited about.

"Ole Miss has been on me hard. All of the coaches check in on me almost every day. I know they've got a great program. I'm looking forward to getting out there soon."

Among the schools that could get one of the two vacant official visit dates, per Hardman: Oregon, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn and Oklahoma.

Hardman said he's far from making a decision but is weighing all of his options carefully. He added that he's open to playing any position, as long as he fits into the right system. Hardman is an electric receiver, but some believe he'll make an even better defensive back at the next level.

Making a final decision, he said, is the hardest part of the process, considering he likes so many schools.

"The hardest thing about it is keeping everybody satisfied," he said. "In the end, you're going to let someone down. The good from it is that you get to see the schools, meet new players and have a good time with fans. It's stressful but fun at the same time."

Credit: 247Sports

Arizona State to host national top-5 ATH?

A player like Jack Jones can be dangerous in so many ways. The 4-star athlete from Long Beach, California, can play nearly every skill position on either side of the ball, and he's a threat with the ball as a kickoff returner and punt returner.

Jones, the nation's No. 3 athlete, is a wanted individual. He has 21 reported offers and considers himself wide open with his recruiting process. His first official visit could take place this weekend, as he said he has a tentative official visit set to Arizona State.

"I watched Jaelen Strong and what they did when he was there," Jones said of Arizona State. "I like the way they used him and how he touched the ball. I feel like I could be used the same way."

Jones, a shade under 6 feet tall and right at 170 pounds, said Arizona State could get an official visit at a later date if it doesn't happen this weekend. Other schools in the mix for one of his five officials include Washington, Florida and Texas A&M.

"I have a couple [visits] in mind," he said. "I want to go to a strong program, education wise, and a place with a good coaching staff. I want to play for someone who will tell me what I'm doing right and doing wrong. I'd like to have a chance to start as a freshman."

Wherever Jones ends up, look for him to play outside receiver. Or slot receiver. Or cornerback. Or nickelback.

"I feel like I can play any position a coach wants me to," he said. "It all depends on what college I go to and what side of the ball they want me on. I'm just a football player."

Credit: 247Sports

Despite tough loss, Texas WR pledge solid, excited

Like every other Texas fan, 4-star wide receiver commit Reggie Hemphill-Mapps went through a roller coaster of emotions in a matter of seconds.

The Longhorns trailed Cal by seven late in the fourth quarter when redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard scored on a 45-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing extra point, however, kicker Nick Rose missed wide left. Cal went on to beat Texas, 45-44, and send the Longhorns to 1-2 on the season.

"It hurt my soul," Hemphill-Mapps said.

That was the bad news. The good news is after watching the game, Hemphill-Mapps said he's even more solid with his commitment. He was most proud of watching Heard put on a record-breaking show.

Heard tallied 527 yards of total offense—364 passing and 163 rushing—in the loss. It's the most by any player in Longhorns history. Hemphill-Mapps said he will be back on the Texas campus this weekend to watch the Longhorns take on Oklahoma State.

"Now is the time to get excited," Hemphill-Mapps said. "We've got our quarterback."

Credit: 247Sports

Irish visit, others coming for Pennsylvania WR

Like many other uncommitted athletes, Pittsburgh 4-star cornerback Damar Hamlin has made recruiting a second priority behind winning football games for his team. Hamlin has helped Central Catholic to a 2-1 record thus far.

Hamlin, the nation's No. 14 cornerback and the No. 3 player from Pennsylvania, does have one official visit set to Notre Dame the weekend of Oct. 16—when the Fighting Irish host USC. The other four visits, Hamlin said, could come down to one of 10 schools: UCLA, Arizona State, Miami, Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Michigan State, Tennessee and Stanford.

"I'm not sure which ones I'll take yet," Hamlin said. "I just know I don't plan on taking [a decision] all the way to signing day."

Hamlin said he's looking forward to the Notre Dame visit. He's built a good relationship with defensive backs coach Todd Lyght and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.

"I like the tradition of the school and the weight a degree from there holds," said Hamlin, who wants to obtain a business degree. "I know I can be set for life for me and my family with a Notre Dame degree if the NFL doesn't work out."

Notre Dame is an option, but committing to Penn State also is a possibility for Hamlin. Five of the top 10 players from Pennsylvania in the 2016 class are committed to the Nittany Lions—including one of Hamlin's close friends, 4-star running back Miles Sanders.

And what is Hamlin ultimately looking for in a program?

"A great relationship with coaches and coaches who really care about you and not just what you can do for the team," Hamlin said. "I want to have that family feeling with the coaches and the team."

Credit: 247Sports

Huge numbers by 2018 QB, brother of Oregon commit

Those who follow recruiting in the 2016 class know how much of a weapon 4-star cornerback Jared Mayden can be. The Sachse, Texas, standout committed to Oregon while at The Opening over the summer.

The Mayden household will stay popular to colleges for the next couple of years, as southpaw quarterback Jalen Mayden is emerging into a definite playmaker in the 2018 class. He has five offers, and after Friday's performance, that number could rise.

The youngest of three brothers, Jalen threw for 545 yards and six touchdowns, and also rushed for 73 yards and a score in a win Friday. Now standing 6'2" and 205 pounds, Jalen also completed 29 of 34 passes for the evening.

"I knew [Jalen's numbers] were going to be high, but I didn't know they'd be that high," Jared Mayden said of his brother. "He is really stepping up. You can see him getting better from game to game."

Jalen Mayden, whose oldest brother is Rice receiver James Mayden, has offers from Syracuse, Oregon State, Houston, Bryant and Missouri Southern. He's drawn interest from Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas, and he took an unofficial visit to Penn State over the weekend.

Mayden's mother, Katrina Salles, said he will take an unofficial visit to Baylor on Saturday and this season will take in home games at TCU, Oklahoma, Houston and Oregon.

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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