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June 15, 2013

Hardin anchors down

Florence (Ala.) offensive lineman Cole Hardin became the newest member of the 2014 Vanderbilt commitment class on Saturday.

The 6-foot-5, 293-pound three-star prospect pledged to Commodore head coach James Franklin while in town for the program's Cookout with the Commodores, featuring many of the staff's top targets for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes.

Hardin, whom was considered to be leaning towards the Commodores prior to the visit, announced his decision via Twitter shortly after informing the VU staff.

"I'm going to play college football at VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY! #blessed #ANCHORDOWN."

Hardin built a strong relationship with the Commodore staff over the last several months, making multiple trips to campus and remaining in constant contact with both his area recruiting coach, Brent Pry, and offensive line coach, Herb Hand.

Hardin received an official scholarship offer from the Commodores shortly after a standout performance in Vanderbilt's first Elite Camp of the summer.

"I chose Vanderbilt because it is the only school who can offer top notch academics and SEC football," Hardin later told VandySports.com on Saturday. "They are a program on the rise."

A rugged, aggressive blocker that will mix it up and get nasty with defenders, Hardin also impressed many this spring with his athleticism and versatility. He could play both guard and center for Vanderbilt during his career.

Rated as the No. 27 guard in the class by Rivals.com, Hardin chose the Commodores over offers from Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Wake Forest, Arkansas State, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Memphis, MTSU, South Alabama, South Florida, Southern Miss and Tulane. He was also on the verge of receiving a Virginia Tech offer and programs such as Kentucky and Tennessee were also quite interested.

Hardin impressed many earlier this spring with his performance at the Rivals Camp in Birmingham, receiving top offensive honors. He was later ranked 26th overall among the lineman performances by the network.

Hardin ranks 19th among prospects inside the state of Alabama, and is considered one of the Top 3 linemen inside the state for the 2014 class.

Hardin has been timed running a sub-5.0 in the forty and benches over 315 pounds. He also squats 500 pounds and carries a 3.9 GPA in the classroom.

Hardin is the ninth official member of Vanderbilt's 2014 recruiting class.








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