Sage Hardin just smiled when he was asked what he thought about 90-percent of the recruiting experts projecting him to UGA, via the 247sports.com Crystal Ball predictions.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound offensive lineman from Marist high school will announce his college decision at 6 p.m. Friday.
“I think it’s pretty interesting,” Hardin told the AJC. “Maybe they know something I don’t. I’m not sure. Everyone will just have to wait to find out until I commit.”
Hardin is an Atlanta prospect with strong Georgia Tech ties, and he just got an offer from UGA last week. Hardin has accumulated nearly 20 early scholarship offers, and he won’t release a list of finalists before Friday’s call.
“I haven’t really narrowed down the list — and I’m keeping it to myself,” Hardin said. “Some of the schools that I’m very highly considering are Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Miami. Those are the some the key schools that I’ve really been thinking about the last few weeks.”
This summer, Hardin has made recruiting trips to Ole Miss, Miami, N.C. State and UGA, among others. He has always wanted a UGA offer, and finally earned one last week after his performance at summer camp.
“Growing up as a kid, it was a big thing to want to play for your home-state school,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of friends go over to Georgia, and they’ve absolutely loved it. They have a lot of things I like, whether it’s the coaching stability, the facilities, the geographical location, and alumni base. Year in and year out, they are one of the top schools in the country. All of those things are attractive to me.
“Georgia was one of my dream offers. It’s a school I could see myself going to. A lot of these schools are dream offers. But Georgia really stands out to me because it’s the chance to play for one of the home-state schools.”
The other home-state school is Georgia Tech, and the Yellow Jackets were Hardin’s first college offer. His father, Bo Hardin, played one season at Georgia Tech before transferring to UVA. His grandfather was a manager on Georgia Tech’s 1952 national championship team.
“I grew up a Georgia Tech fan but it doesn’t mean I don’t like Georgia,” the younger Hardin said.
While UGA likes that he can play any position along the offensive line, Georgia Tech think he’d make an excellent tackle. “They definitely want me at offensive tackle,” he said. “They love my length and athleticism. And obviously at Marist, I played in a triple-option offense like they have at Georgia Tech. They like my physicality and the way we block downhill. I think I would be a very good fit at Georgia Tech.”
Hardin is ranked as a 3-star and the state’s No. 46 overall prospect. He’s ready to end the recruiting process, and shift his attention to his senior season.
“I feel like I’m getting close to having a full and informed decision,” Hardin said. “I don’t see any point in waiting if I know where I want to go. I wouldn’t want a situation arise where several kids want to go to the same school, and I risk losing the spot. And also, with our high school season starting off in about a month, I’m ready to get it over with so I can focus on our team goals.”