UGA adds a homegrown offensive lineman

OL Sage Hardin

OL Sage Hardin

After UGA’s tough start this year with recruiting homegrown offensive linemen, the Bulldogs got some good news on Friday night.

Sage Hardin, a 3-star from Marist high school, committed to UGA after earning an offer from the Bulldogs last week. Hardin was also considering UVA, Tennessee, Miami and Georgia Tech, among others.

“I picked Georgia because of the tradition, the coaching staff, and the people who Coach Richt has surrounded himself with,” Hardin told the AJC. “It’s relatively close to home. I like being close to my family. I can come home whenever I want to. I have a lot of friends that go there. I’m very interested in the business school.

“I can reach all my goals athletically and academically there.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound Hardin is commit No. 14 for UGA’s 2015 recruiting class, and the second on the offensive line. The other is Hinds junior college’s DeVondre Seymour, who signed with UGA two years ago but did not academically qualify.

Hardin is rated as a 3-star and the state’s No. 46 overall prospect, per the 247sports composite rankings. His father played offensive line at Georgia Tech and UVA.

“With Sage, it’s a guy that wants to be at Georgia,” said 247sports.com’s Rusty Mansell. “He’s dreamed about playing there. He’s a hard-working kid. I don’t think people realize with Sage that he’s a pretty good lacrosse player, too. So you’re getting an athletic and long-framed 6-7 kid that you know can handle anything academically coming from Marist.

“This is the type of kid that will make the meeting room better because he’s in there. He’s a high-academic, high-character kid, and I think his best playing days are certainly ahead of him. You’re looking at a kid that could be 6-7 and 300 pounds as a college freshman.”

UGA is hoping Hardin’s commitment will give the Bulldogs some much-needed momentum in recruiting the state’s top offensive linemen. UGA missed on 5-stars Chuma Edoga (USC) and Mitch Hyatt (Clemson), along with Kaleb Kim (Auburn), Cole Minshew (FSU), Dallas Warmack (Alabama), and Bailey Sharp (Auburn).

Hardin will likely play center at UGA.

“Coach Friend was saying that I could play all five positions on the offensive line,” Hardin said. “Interestingly enough, he mentioned that I was the smartest kid he had ever recruited. To play center, you have to be really smart. He really thought I could be a good center, especially with the background of my dad.

“He also said I have the length and athleticism to play offensive tackle, and I think I could find a way to play offensive guard. So I definitely think I could play any of the five positions on the offensive line.”

RELATED: Mark Richt, who is normally conservative and bland on Twitter, appeared to celebrate Hardin’s commitment immediately after it happened with an indirect tweet. He can’t mention Hardin by name, per NCAA rules. This is a growing trend among college coaches on Twitter.

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— By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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