The Colts Prospect Interviews are continuing at Stampede Blue as we start interviewing potential Colts draft picks. Now that the Combine is over, there will be more and more big name guys for these interviews.
To change it up a bit, each interview will have a little bit of background and film analysis of the player before the interview so that there is an entire picture painted of the player. Our first interview of the week is Georgia State WR Penny Hart.
5’8” 180 pounds
203 catches for 2,960 yards with a yards per catch of 14.6 and 19 touchdowns
Why He Fits:
Hart may not fit the starting outside receiver mold that the Colts need but he could solve their issues in the slot. The Colts rolled with players such as Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant in the slot position last season and got some really inconsistent play from the two. Hart may not have the greatest size but he makes up for it with insane quickness and route running for the position. He would be a reliable playmaker on the Colts and it would be exciting to see what Frank Reich could do with this skilled slot receiver.
Hart wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl with his route running. Strong release off of the line along with good feet to beat Nasir Adderley.
Adderley is one of the best DBs in Mobile and WR Penny Hart got him pretty good with that controlled burst.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 24, 2019
Twitchy + Crafty = Hart pic.twitter.com/6P6B9RLINY
He can also work a bit from the outside due to his route running. Makes a nice cut after the catch as well to score.
Penny "Taylor Gabriel" Hart at it again pic.twitter.com/sQiRAz9udo— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 26, 2019
Can also win deep with quick releases and footwork. Excellent concentration down the field as well.
Penny Hart wins outside and gets over the top on Troy CB Marcus Jones. Does a good job of keeping his inside shoulder over the CB so that he can maintain his leverage advantage. Secures the ball through contact for a 45-yard gain. pic.twitter.com/1VGlHpqsLw— Fed Scivittaro (@MeshPointScout) October 8, 2018
ZH: You are a legit NFL prospect who has had a great career. How does a player with your abilities end up at Georgia State?
PH: Honestly that was my only offer at the time. I went to a lot of different camps and did what I had to do and performed fairly well but Georgia State was the only one that wanted to take a chance on me. After going there on a few visits, I made a decision to want to go there and there was no one else offering at the time anyway. They chose me and I chose them.
ZH: Stepping off of the field, I did see that you were a two time Athletic Director’s Honor Roll student at Georgia State. Were your academics just as important to you as your athletics?
PH: Most definitely. Going through school and taking those classes has always been something that my grandfather always told me, to get my education, my parents get an education, because you know a long line of my ancestors couldn’t get their education so just completely taking advantage of that and doing well with that as well as football.
ZH: You were a great player for Georgia State and were All-Conference the last couple of years. You were honored with being invited to the Senior Bowl as a result. How was the whole week down there off of the field from the interviews to the team meetings even?
PH: It was fun. It was great just being able to be in an atmosphere of some of the top prospects in the whole country and just be that name in that class and it just felt really good. I loved meeting some of those guys, one in particular being Andy Isabella. I think he is an amazing player and an even better guy. Going through the whole week, we helped each other by competing but all in all just being able to be around that class of guys was cool and I think everyone was able to just enjoy that time being able to meet new people and have that experience.
ZH: Stepping onto the field during the practices and you really turned some heads down there. Were you satisfied overall with your week of practices?
PH: Yeah, for sure. I feel like I took advantage of the opportunity I was given. I was just going out there and doing what I’ve always done. Honestly, going out there and playing made me feel like I was five years old again every time that ball was snapped. I just wanted to go out there and dominate and do what I had to do. I was just glad to be able to go out there and play football and be with those guys.
ZH: The biggest thing I see on film is your top notch route running. I don’t think people understand the nuance that goes into perfecting that craft. In your own words, what makes a great route runner?
PH: I think the ability to be creative. I think being... the one thing in football that is truly an art is being able to create space and learning different ways to create space, learning how to come out of different breaks at certain angles, knowing how to set somebody up. To me seeing amazing routes and being able to go out there and do it as well, it truly is an art and seeing how many different ways there is to get open or make a play on the ball its amazing to me, I love watching just different highlights of players and everything like that. The different ways that people run routes and different wide receivers and the way they do things is just great. Creating space and being a receiver is definitely a true art.
ZH: When you are watching film as a receiver what are you watching for when you watch a defense. How are you diagnosing a defense in order to find those openings?
PH: I’m looking at certain tendencies of DB’s and cornerbacks and even linebackers and different tendencies of how they may show a blitz and come out of it and run a certain coverage that may set safeties and corners and everything because at the end of the day, we are trying to create and do our art and display it in different ways but they have to be able to find our pattern of how we want to create and be able to stop us. So I look at a lot of different tendencies as far as first step, second step, eyes, safety rotations, linebacker rotations, movement, those are a lot of different things I look at. I definitely give a lot of credit to Nick Arbuckle— who was my QB my freshman year— for teaching me how to watch film and things to look for and how to be successful and not just beating people with athleticism. Knowing what to do when the ball is snapped and before it is snapped.
ZH: What was your favorite route or play at Georgia State that you just loved running?
PH: I loved the shake route. It was a seven-three post corner and I loved running it. It was almost like automatically getting open, double move— you know they are going to bite on the post— and I’ll come right out of it running the corner, sitting wide open.
ZH: I certainly saw you beat a couple guys with that route on your film. What area would you say that you need to improve most in the NFL?
PH: Continually working on learning how to play out of rhythm. I think in my career I went from a point of getting the ball probably 3-5 times on the first drive to my last season not getting the ball until maybe the 4th quarter being my first catch. So early on last season, I had to learn how to help my team and play in a better way to help the team in general to get to where we need to go and be successful and be a part of the game. That came about through special teams and the blocking game and other facets of my game. Just being able to play not necessarily in rhythm but not necessarily out of it as well and finding a way to put my stamp on the game to help my team win.
ZH: I completely agree and that brings up a question I actually didn’t plan on asking. Your blocking really improved the last season with Georgia State. What was the key to that jump in play in that area?
PH: Honestly, looking at film from the previous year and seeing how ineffective I was and how one dimensional my game was, you know I was getting the ball a lot but at the same time I wasn’t doing anything to help my team when the ball wasn’t coming my way and I’m a person that doesn’t like to have any flaws in my game or have any things that people can point out and talk about. In the offseason I was just working differently with different drills but honestly it’s just a want to. I truly wanted to become a better blocker and help my teammates gain better yards and everything like that. So it just stemmed from actually wanting to and it trickled through the receiver group and we made that a key point to go out like hell and help the people in the backfield.
ZH: Love receivers with that mindset. Who in the NFL do you model your game after?
PH: I watch a lot of different people, I take things from DeAndre Hopkins’ aggressiveness, to Antonio Brown’s fundamentals, to Julio’s (Jones) athleticism, to Odell’s (Beckham) snap down but for the most part, a lot of my game I contribute to Andrew Hawkins. He’s not playing anymore but when I was young, growing up watching him on the show, Michael Irvin was giving people a chance to have a shot to be on the Cowboys team, him and Jesse Holley going to the last final. Seeing someone at that stature playing receiver just ignited a spark in me that wanted to be able to do that one day because I felt like he was a groundbreaking player to be able to play receiver and be as quick as he was and being able to get as far as he did in that show. I definitely contribute a lot of my game to him and I try to emulate him a lot.
ZH: Final question for you. What would it be like to (potentially) play alongside guys like Andrew Luck and T.Y Hilton next season with the Colts?
PH: That would be phenomenal. Andrew Luck being someone I have had the opportunity to speak to— we have the same agent— so being able to speak with him and him continually giving me advice and just helping me when I move through this process when I talk to him— like telling me to continue to work and that he’ll keep up with me— is just amazing and I can’t wait to be able to work in the NFL and possibly be able to work with him being a great QB in the NFL. T.Y Hilton is an amazing player who I would love to compliment. Him being the leading receiver in the Sun Belt— I was chasing that until I left— but these are phenomenal players who put their stamp on the game and it would be a phenomenal opportunity to be able to play in Indianapolis.