UGA Football

Hardman to stay involved as he continues to learn receiver position

By Jason Butt

Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman.
Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman. AP

Mecole Hardman has demonstrated big-play potential when the football is in his hands.

Whether it has been on a run after the catch or on a special teams return, Hardman is dangerous in the open field. But since making the move to receiver from cornerback this past offseason, Hardman has been working hard on consistently catching the ball.

Having not played the position at great length until this past spring, it is understandable to see why Hardman has dropped a few passes. But with the game-breaking ability there, head coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs will continue to target the speedy athlete from Elberton.

"He knows he’s got to catch the ball," Smart said. "We’re going to continue to throw it to him. I think Mecole’s a work in progress. He’s getting better each week."

For the season, Hardman has seven catches for 58 yards. But his numbers could be greater if not for dropping deep passes against Notre Dame and Tennessee. 

Smart said he has seen progress in his sophomore receiver during practice, which gives him confidence to keep targeting him in games.

"To be honest with you, we’ve thrown to him in the last couple of weeks in practice," Smart said. "It’s not like he’s got the drops. He just hasn’t had the opportunity. He hasn’t really had an opportunity in a game in a while."

And a lot of that opportunity comes with Georgia's run game getting out on opponents and limiting the need for a passing game. In the past two weeks, quarterback Jake Fromm has only attempted 26 total passes.

But as Smart said, Hardman possesses "great speed," which is why Georgia wants to get him the ball.

It's just a matter of getting Hardman used to the intricacies of the receiver position, a process he never went through until switching positions this past offseason.

"It’s running routes. It’s being comfortable catching the ball," Smart said. "It’s 10 to 15 years of that’s not what he did his whole life. He’s developing, he’s working hard at it. I think the guy’s going to make a really good player."