The Oklahoma State Cowboys made a big splash on the recruiting trail Sunday with the pledge of Houston (Texas) Taylor cornerback Chris Hardeman, a longtime LSU pledge who opened up his recruitment a week ago.
The decision came while on a trip through Oklahoma that also included a stop in Norman to see the Sooner facilities. A consensus four-star prospect, the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions favored Arkansas for the son of the Taylor recruiting coordinator, just one of over 20 offers for the 5'8, 180-pound cornerback who participated in The Opening back in early July. He's ranked as the No. 23 cornerback nationally and the No. 29 player in the state of Texas.
Here's the scouting report on Hardeman:
Experienced in playing man coverage both at the line of scrimmage and off opposing receivers, Hardeman has the quick feet and short-area quickness to turn and run with receivers in either situation and can plant his foot and close on the football. His physicality and willingness to mix it up may be his two best attributes, as he can disrupt the release of opposing wide receivers and defeat blockers in the running game or screen game.
As a result, he projects favorably as a nickel corner at the next level, were he would go up against opponents who are of a similar size in the slot since he does not have ideal size to play the boundary corner position. In terms of his build, he is about the same size as Texas star cornerback Quandre Diggs, who has been excellent in his two years in college playing the field corner position, though he could play some nickel this year.
Hardeman does have a tendency to get turned around while in coverage, something he will have to work on as he gets ready to transition to college, when wide receivers will be much more capable of taking advantage of small things like that.
He may also need some time to adjust to playing zone coverages in college because it appears that Alief Taylor plays predominantly man coverage.
With the pledges of Hardeman and teammate Keenen Brown, a wide receiver, Oklahoma State now has 19 pledges in a class that ranks No. 26 nationally in the 247Sports composite team rankings and third in the Big 12. Only two recruits in the class are rated higher than Hardeman in the composite -- Broken Arrow (Okla.) running back Devon Thomas and his high school teammate, linebacker Gyasi Akem.