Mecole Hardman is still going through the learning process.
Having been well documented already, Hardman is only three games into playing wide receiver. He was a high school quarterback and started at Georgia as a cornerback. Thus far, catching the ball down the field as a receiver has had its share of ups and downs.
Hardman is quite aware of that. During the second quarter of Georgia’s 42-14 win over Samford Saturday night, Hardman committed a drop on a pass that would have been a first down. It was the third consecutive game he has dropped a pass.
Hardman has shown an uncanny ability to break wide open in each game. But becoming a consistent pass-catcher is something he hopes to add to his repertoire as he continues to learn the position.
“I’m not one to make excuses,” Hardman said. “Every ball I drop I’ve got to catch. I’ll go back in the film and look at it and see why I missed it. In the week of practice, I’ll work on those type of balls and work on catching them.”
After meeting with reporters, Hardman posted a message on his Twitter account to his 22,700 followers stating how he will continue to work on this aspect of his game.
Hardman has seen a high volume of snaps through three games. Georgia’s coaching staff clearly wants the electric play-maker to have the ball in his hands. He has shown glimpses of the kind of receiver he can be.
In the first quarter against Samford, quarterback Jake Fromm targeted Hardman for a 5-yard touchdown, with the former Elberton standout getting a foot in play just before stepping out of bounds. It was Hardman’s first career touchdown.
But then there have been moments like he had against Notre Dame, when he dropped what would have been a deep touchdown. Head coach Kirby Smart said Hardman has made strides in his transition to receiver but that he has to become more sure-handed.
“He’s come a long way but he still has a ways to go,” Smart said. “He’s getting better every week, he’s working hard. He has not arrived. He’s got to get better and has to learn his assignments. He’s got to block better. He’s got to catch the ball. He knows that.”
His fellow receivers have done their part to keep his spirits up following some of these drops.
Sophomore Riley Ridley said the coaches made the right move by moving Hardman to receiver. Ridley believes the more Hardman becomes accustomed to playing the position in games, the better he will become.
“Mecole’s a very bright kid. He’s fast,” Ridley said. “I believe him going from corner to receiver was a good move. I tell him all the time to just keep working. We as receivers, we embrace him and tell him to keep working. It’ll come.”
Receiver Terry Godwin, who caught four passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns against Samford, said Hardman just has to fight through the growing pains and continue learning the nuances of being a receiver.
After all, it took Godwin some time to figure out how to be a college receiver since he was a high school quarterback himself.
“That’s going to take time,” Godwin said. “Experience plays a big factor in this game. Once you get a little bit of experience, you can go out there and play however you want.”
Hardman, a former five-star recruiting prospect, said he is committed to being a better receiver. Given the amount of playing time Georgia has given him in each game, he is likely to have numerous chances to make up for some of these early-season drops.
“It’s something I have to work on,” Hardman said. “I just have to keep improving. I think I’ll be good as I go.”