The college recruiters told Larry Hart he was too short. The Jaguars don't agree.
Hart is the Jaguars' first of three picks in the fifth round of the draft. At six-foot, the defensive end projects as a pass-rush specialist.
Is he too short to be successful in the NFL?
"Absolutely not," Hart said. "Jacksonville should know that with Freeney and Mathis. The league MVP was James Harrison. I believe I'm taller than he is."
Hart wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school and didn't qualify academically. He spent time in junior college and then blossomed as a pass-rusher at Central Arkansas.
Jaguars area scout Chris Prescott found Hart on film during a visit to Central Arkansas and then General Manager Gene Smith and Director of Player Personnel Terry McDonough scouted Hart at the Texas vs. the Nation game, at which the Jaguars found defensive tackle Terrance Knighton a year ago.
Defensive line coach Joe Cullen conducted a personal workout with Hart. "He nearly worked me halfway to death," Hart said.
Baltimore and Oakland were also interested in Hart, considered by many to be a hidden gem.
"I wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school and I didn't get a lot of offers coming out of junior college. It definitely made me appreciate this opportunity I have and I'm going to work my butt off," Hart said.
What will his role be with the Jaguars?
"They want my hand on the ground and to help get after Peyton Manning a little bit," he said.