Rookie Spotlight: Penny Hart, Georgia State University
Weight: 180 lbs
Hands: 8 7/8”
Arm: 31 3/8”
40 yard dash: 4.47 (projected)
NFL Comparison: Jamison Crowder, Tyreek Hill, Tavon Austin
– explodes out of breaks
– crisp route runner
– efficiency of motion
– special teams asset
– long arms for his size
– small stature and hands
– hasn’t faced premier competition
Scouting Notes: It’s a real joy to watch Penny Hart on the field. He runs with a smoothness that makes it appear as if everyone else around him is slogging through a pit of mud. He gets his hips loose and low, so he’s able to change direction without wasting time or energy – he’s the definition of an efficient runner. He put on a master class as getting open off the line and in tight spaces at the Senior Bowl, making top-tier corners look like junior high kids. He’s able to do this with lightning fast acceleration out of his horizontal breaks, leaving defenders 3 to 4 steps behind him at times. If he can’t outrun you, Hart will out maneuver you. He angles his body in ways that only allow him access to the ball. He’s got small hands, but he’s got a reach(31 ⅜”) that surpasses that of some receivers 2 or 3 inches taller than him, so he can extend from his frame and snatch the ball out of the air at the last instant. As diminutive as Hart is, he’s an effective blocker, churning his feet and often attacking the side of the defender’s body that the play is coming on, instead of taking on the entire defender.
Fantasy Outlook: Hart can line up all over the field, but he’ll likely man the slot in the NFL. Fellow quick and shifty slot- receiver Andy Isabella will garner a lot of attention on draft day, but smart teams will realize that Hart is a similar player who can be had much later. He doesn’t have quite the straight line speed that Isabella possesses, but he actually might be better at making his cuts and changing direction, invaluable traits for a slot-receiver. I’d be surprised if Hart makes it past the 4th round, though the fact that he wasn’t invited to the Combine may prove to have an “out of sight, out of mind” effect on teams. Hopefully, his special-teams capabilities give him a boost to otherwise nonplussed franchises. Time will tell if whatever team Hart lands on will be able to utilize him as more than a gadget player, because that’s definitely a possibility. A savvy organization could make him into the the next Tyreek Hill, but he may end up being another Tavon Austin. Either way, he’s worth a early mid-round gamble in dynasty leagues, as he’s an electric player with few red flags.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Like all rookie profiles, this one will continue to be updated through the winter and spring with intel as we acquire it. When applicable/available, these profiles will be supplemented with transcriptions of scouting combine interviews with the players following the event.
AT GEORGIA STATE: The fourth-leading receiver in Sun Belt Conference history with 2,950 career receiving yards. Also ranks seventh in career receptions with 202 … Three-time All-Sun Belt Conference honoree, including first-team honors in 2015 and 2017 and third team accolades in 2018. One of just two Panthers to earn first-team All-Sun Belt honors twice … In 39 career games, he ranks second in GSU history in career receptions (202), third in receiving yards (2,950), second TD receptions (19) and touchdowns scored (20) and second in all-purpose yards (3,497) … At least one reception in every game he played (39 straight) … Had 11 career 100-yard games …. The first Panther to record two 1,000-yard seasons … The leading receiver in the Sun Belt in 2015 and 2017 Freshman All-America and Sun Belt Freshman of the Year in 2015 who missed most of 2016 with a season-ending foot injury, but returned to form in 2017 … Invited to play in the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl.