By Linton Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to former Elbert County Blue Devil star Mecole Hardman, who received the Vince Dooley Most Valuable Player Award for special teams during the Georgia Bulldogs’ Senior Awards Gala Sunday night at the Classic Center in Athens.
A sophomore wide receiver, Hardman leads the Southeastern Conference in punt return yardage for the 2017 season and also handles kickoff returns and downfield punt coverage for the Bulldogs. Also receiving Vince Dooley MVP honors were junior All-American linebacker Roquan Smith on defense and senior running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel on offense.
Hardman caught four passes for 67 yards in the SEC Championship Game Saturday in Atlanta as Georgia trounced Auburn 28-7 to win its first conference crown in 12 years. The Bulldogs clinched their first-ever berth in the College Football Playoff.
Hardman was also named 2nd-team All-SEC on Monday by the Associated Press.
Ranked No.3 in the nation, Georgia will take on second-ranked Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on January 1. The other semifinal will pit top-ranked defending national champion Clemson against fourth-ranked Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The two winners will battle for the national championship in Atlanta on January 8.