NAME: Penny Hart
SCHOOL: Georgia State
CONFERENCE: Sun belt
CLASS: RS Junior (graduate)
JERSEY: No. 18
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
WT: 180 lbs
Route Running – Hart’s best routes come off of horizontal breaks, as he utilizes a dead leg cut to stop his stem and accelerate through the break. Slight changes in direction come easily to Hart, making double moves like the “post-curl,” dig or “burst corner” his most efficient routes. Will finish downhill on his curl routes, finding windows in-between the hook and flat defenders. Despite a slight lean back in his stems, his deceleration can be a weapon at the top of his routes, as defensive backs struggle to break down at the same pace as Hart. On the vertical plane, Hart’s best weapon is his slight change of pace, as he can really accelerate after getting defensive backs on their heels. Hart can struggle to disengage from contact in his stems, and looks uncomfortable when working across the field on shallow routes.
Athleticism/Speed – Hart’s calling card is his short-area quickness, as his foot speed reminds me of Richie James of the San Francisco 49ers. He moves his feet in a flash, and can slightly alter his direction with absurd vertical cuts. He accelerates and decelerates well, showing plus burst. Where Hart is lacking is the strength department, as his smaller stature limits him.
Hands/Ball Skills – Generally positive ball skills, as he will extend away from his frame to make grabs when he has separation. He has the habit of fading away from the catchpoint and using his body when trying to make receptions through contact, limiting his ability in contested catches. However, Hart has soft hands and has shown few drops on film. His lack of length limits his catch radius, he doesn’t have that truly elite explosiveness to make up for it on a consistent basis.
Body Control – Doesn’t waste motion as a runner, cutting with seamless transitions. Able to open his hips and cut in any direction as well as adjust or contort his body to properly position his frame, when afforded the space to do so.
Ball Carrier – Hart is a dynamic ball carrier with short area quickness and field vision. His jet sweep rep against Kennesaw State is the shining example of his speed and fluidity as a ball carrier. Quick cuts, reads his blockers well and will eat up yards in space. Georgia State made an effort to get Hart involved as the third option of extended triple option looks, generally a role reserved for electric ball carriers.
Stalk Blocking – Hart has an obvious motor to his game that is seen in his blocking. Hart’s feet are always moving, and he has the awareness and effort to cut off defensive backs after not being targeted on RPO routes or when the QB scrambles. While his effort is high, Hart’s technique could use some work. He’s overrun some of his approaches, and he rarely attacks the defensive back square and drives them. His lack of strength is the cause of this, as Hart will look to cut-off one side of the defender he’s blocking. This can be effective in a limited amount of situations, as his angles and quick feet can interrupt the defenders path just enough for ball carriers to slip by his block.
Versatility – Hart finished his career at Georgia State with 203 receptions, 13 rushing attempts, 17 kick returns and 15 punt returns. As far as his versatility as a receiver, his unique skill-set can be used in a variety of ways. Whether it be on jet sweeps, as an underneath and space threat, or using his quickness down the field, Hart is effective in multiple areas.
BEST TRAIT – Short-area quickness
WORST TRAIT – Catch Radius / Contested Catch
RED FLAGS – None
Hart has impressive career production and versatility, which landed him a Senior Bowl invite. He projects as a natural slot receiver in the NFL, with potential value as a kick and punt returner. Those aspects of his game increase hos chances of sticking on a roster, which could allow him to develop in other areas (strength, blocking). Don’t be surprised if an NFL teams takes a chance on Hart on day 3 of the NFL Draft.