There’s no way around it, Elbert County’s (Elberton, Ga.) Mecole Hardman is a human highlight reel.
“I just try to make things happen,” Hardman told USA TODAY High School Sports. “I can’t take credit for everything, someone had to get me the ball and block, but once I get the ball, I wanna score every time I touch it!”
His strength as a runner is undeniable, and his speed and athleticism are well-documented.
The nation’s No. 1 athlete will get a chance to showcase his abilities at the 2016 U.S. Army All-American Bowl after receiving his jersey Friday as part of the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the game, and I’m really looking forward to playing in January,” said Hardman, who was originally committed to the Under Armour All-America Game.
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After hearing from other players about their plans and why they selected the Army game, Hardman decided to switch when he got the offer.
“It’s a big achievement for us, and to serve (the soldiers) and put on a show for them, the people who serve for us every day, it’s special,” Hardman said. “We want to show our support for them and serve them for once.”
We’ll see Hardman play Jan. 9, 2016, on NBC in the All-American Bowl, but where will we see him next fall?
We won’t know until February’s National Signing Day.
“I’ve got my list and I’m trying to narrow it down day-by-day,” said Hardman, who’s planning on taking visits to the multiple premier programs, such as the Alabama-LSU and Michigan-Ohio State games.
“You wanna be comfortable at the school, especially with how you feel around players and coaches. I was gonna make my decision early, but it’s a major decision you have to make, and I want to take my time,” said Hardman, who plans on making his announcement in a unique way.
“I wanna try and do something cool, the hats are played out!” Hardman said, laughing. “I’ve got time and I’ll be thinking about it, I’ll have something planned!”
Whoever wins over Hardman is getting a true All-American to the very core. By talking to him, you’d never know Hardman was the nation’s No. 1 athlete. He’s as humble as he is skilled.
“My instinct and will to win is what separates me from other players,” Hardman said. “Nobody on the field wants to win more than me. I’ve never seen that. I just feel like my hearts so big.”
His motivation comes from his family, who give him the drive to change not only his life, but their lives as well.
“Growing up, not having a lot, seeing your parents try and provide for you, I want to give back to them. If I can make it to the next level and go to college, I can do good things and help them out,” Hardman said.
“Even if I don’t make it to the NFL, either way I get a degree, then a job, and then I’m not worrying. I wanna tell momma she’s straight!”