September 20, 2012

JHC shoulders the blame

When Josh Harvey-Clemons thinks back to last February's Signing Day-soap opera involving him and his grandfather Woodrow Clemons, the Georgia freshman chalks it up to one big misunderstanding, one that he says was actually his fault.

It was during his Signing Day ceremony at Lowndes High that Harvey-Clemons chose the Bulldogs, picking Georgia over Florida, Florida State and Miami. But as the afternoon wore on, Harvey-Clemons' signed scholarship never arrived at the Butts Mehre Building. Soon thereafter it was reported that his grandfather would not sign the letter because he was not pleased with the choice.

Bulldog head coach Mark Richt even got caught up in the story when he inadvertently mentioned Harvey-Clemons name before the scholarship papers arrived, resulting in a secondary violation for the football program.

Harvey-Clemons' scholarship papers eventually made their way to Athens, and everything since has been fine, although the former Lowndes standout conceded a little clarity on his part could have kept his grandfather from initially being the subject of blame.

"It bothered him at first because it was really just a misunderstanding. During the whole process, we never really talked about where I wanted to go. He was assuming it was Florida because they were the ones who were showing the most interest and they were the ones who were around my family the most. I was seeing something different," Harvey-Clemons explained. "It was just a misunderstanding. I wasn't communicating with him where I wanted to go and he wasn't asking. He didn't ask me until the night before Signing Day, it was just a misunderstanding. He just wanted to make sure I made the right decision."

Harvey -Clemons said his grandfather actually couldn't be happier with his decision to come to Georgia, and never actually had an issue with his choice.

He just wishes he had relayed that decision a little earlier.

"I knew probably that week (of Signing Day)," said Harvey-Clemons. "I had been going through it in my mind that Georgia was where I wanted to be, but at the same time there were still a lot of things, too. I wanted to go to Louisville at one point, but it was too far. Every school had something I liked, but Georgia was the perfect fit for me."

Harvey-Clemons said there was another reason his grandfather thought Florida was his school of choice.

"Coach (Will) Muschamp came to my church twice. Coach Richt came once," he said. "Coach Muschamp was there a lot to my house, too, so that's why my granddaddy thought I liked them the most."

But Florida's loss was Georgia's gain, and as the Bulldogs' continue their preparation for Saturday night's game against Vanderbilt (7:45, ESPN2), Harvey-Clemons continues to make big strides.

Last week against Florida Atlantic, Harvey-Clemons saw his first extended playing time this year, collecting three tackles, including one for a two-yard loss.

"I think it's really picking up now," he said. "I'm starting to learn the plays a little bit, so I'm able to play a little faster without guessing and stuff."

Harvey-Clemons didn't sign up with the Bulldogs to play in the secondary, outside linebacker was supposed to be his home.

However, when he arrived on campus weighing just 205 pounds, a change had to be made.

"I played safety in high school and I pretty much knew I was undersized for an outside linebacker coming in, so I was kind of expecting it," Harvey-Clemons said. "So when they told me that I just had to readjust my focus and start focusing on that position."

Being that he's 6-foot-5, adjustments have had to be made.

"I have to be a lot lower in my back-peddle, and things like that because a lot of those receivers are shorter and quicker, and they're getting faster and faster," he said. "I've really got to work harder on my technique than a lot of those guys because I'm a lot taller, so I've got to bend my knees a lot more to get a proper back pedal."

As far as any potential shift back down to linebacker, a lot will depend on how much weight he eventually gains.

"I think if I do gain weight they might move me, but I think I can play safety," said Harvey-Clemson, who now checks in at 212 pounds. "Either way I'll be happy just to be out there."