ESPN names Georgia’s breakout player for the 2018 season, so far

Mecole Hardman-breakout-ESPN-Georgia football

Around the Dawg House will bring you daily updates from what people and publications are saying about Georgia, from inside and outside of Athens. 

Mecole Hardman tabbed as Georgia’s early season breakout player

So Georgia fans have always known the name Mecole Hardman, dating back to his days as a 5-star recruit out of Elberton, Ga.

But after a strong start to the season, it seems like people on the national level are starting to notice Hardman’s ability.

ESPN listed the breakout players so far this year for each Top-25 team, and for Georgia, that player was Hardman.

“Hardman — not Cal transfer Demetris Robertson — has become the breakout receiver the Bulldogs have been looking for,” Alex Scarborough wrote. “The 5-foot-11 junior’s production actually extends to the end of last season, though, when he caught an 80-yard touchdown in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. This season, he started off strong with a 59-yard touchdown in the opener against Austin Peay, and then against division rival South Carolina, he pulled in a team-high six receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.”

Against South Carolina, Hardman racked up 133 yards on just seven touches, with much of his damage coming in the third quarter when Georgia was able to pull away from the Gamecocks for good.

It may have taken a little bit longer than some had hoped, but Hardman is starting to become a full-fledged star for the Bulldogs. He has three touchdowns in his last three games and all of them are at least 30-yards and pretty clearly looks like Georgia’s No. 1 receiver.

Kirby Smart praises Georgia running back Elijah Holyfield

Between D’Andre Swift and James Cook, Georgia has a number of talented running backs, so it’s easy for them to not get the attention they deserve as individuals.

But Georgia coach Kirby Smart made sure to mention how impressed he’s been with one of those running backs, specifically junior Elijah Holyfield.

“I’ve been very pleased with how he works and how he plays. He loves contact,” Smart said on the weekly SEC coaches teleconference. “He’s been chomping at the bit to play and he’s done well with it. His ball security has improved but we are looking for more big plays.”

Holyfield is Georgia’s most physical running back and that doesn’t just show up when he’s got the ball in his hands. Smart also praised his ability as a pass blocker.

“His toughness there is good,” Smart said. “A lot of that is understanding what the defense is trying to do to you and he’s done well with that.”

Against South Carolina, Holyfield led Georgia in rushing as he finished with 76 yards on just nine carries. He leads Georgia’s running backs this year with 7.14 yards per carry and he’s found the endzone in both games this season.

Given Georgia’s massive talent advantage, the Bulldogs should coast to an easy win over Middle Tennessee State, which should mean plenty of carries for Holyfield and all of Georgia’s running backs.

Kirby Smart knows how to celebrate

Smart is usually pretty level-headed in front of the media. But behind closed doors, he can get pretty animated.

And he did so after Georgia thrashed South Carolina over the weekend. Thanks to Twitter user @bassindawg, we have video of Smart celebrating in the locker room after the game.

And it’s pretty, pretty good content.

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