May 15, 2013

Newcomers catch Grantham's eye



ATLANTA - Of all the newcomers yet to set foot on campus, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham looks forward to seeing on the field this fall, it's a pair of junior college defensive backs who have apparently caught his eye.

"Shaquille Fluker is a guy we're really excited about," Grantham said during a sit-down with beat writers prior to Wednesday's "Georgia Day" activities at the Marriott Buckhead Hotel Conference Center. "KJ (Kennar) Johnson, both those are junior college guys who we think can make an impact."

A 6-foot-1, 205 pounder, Fluker will get a look at strong safety for the Bulldogs. Johnson, meanwhile, will get looks at both safety and cornerback, similar to Sanders Commings last fall.

"(Johnson) is a guy who can do those things," Grantham said. "We're a big-cross train team but he's a guy that has multiple position flexibility so where he ends up. Whatever combo of players enables to be successful, that's probably where he will end up at."

Grantham has been impressed with what he's heard regarding freshman cornerback Brendan Langley as well.

"Brendan is a guy who has worked his tail off to try and learn our system on his own," Grantham said. "Obviously, Quincy (Mauger) being here will be able to help him with them being teammates and Shaquille Wiggins is a guy we think has some ability so we're excited to see what he can do."

Grantham also mentioned incoming freshman linebacker Tim Kimbrough.

"We're really fortunate with our inside backers that we've got two up here right now with (Ryne) Rankin and (Reggie) Carter," he said. "Tim Kimbrough will be here in June and is a guy we have high expectations for. But I'm looking forward to working with all of them (newcomers). I think they all have some upside and skill set that they can help us. I look forward to all of them, but particularly the defensive back guys."

Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, meanwhile, is already on campus after coming over from Hargraves Military Academy.

He's already working out with the team.

"Leonard's a guy who has really worked his tail off to get here and I've got a lot of respect for the things he had to achieve to get here," Grantham said. "He's a guy we're going to look at one of the outside positions. We're looking forward to seeing what he can do physically."

Despite having seven players off his defense drafted, Grantham said he feels good about his talent base for the upcoming campaign.

That includes other young players like safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, linebacker James DeLoach and Josh Dawson and linebacker Ramik Wilson.

"I feel good. We're young but I feel good about these guys. I think when you break it down I think we actually have a little more depth than we've had in years past," he said. "Ramik is somebody we've felt good about for more than a year, it was just a matter of finding where to play him. I thought he did a really good job in the spring."

Ditto for early enrollee Tray Matthews, who finished the spring atop the depth chart at free safety.

"Tray Matthews is a guy in the back who has shown he has the ability to play in this league, so we will continue to work and develop him," Grantham said. "We feel real good about him."

Grantham brushes off Muschamp comment

During a recent Gator Club function, Florida head coach Will Muschamp when asked about his team's two-year losing streak to Georgia said "It's not going to be a long winning streak, I can assure you. We feel very comfortable."

Grantham was asked to give his response.

"What do you expect him to say at a Gator function?" Grantham said. "Will's a guy that I know personally, he's done a great job at Florida and he's competitive like we all are. He's a guy that wants to win. I think he was just trying to fire up his people."

Still, Grantham managed to get in one subtle dig of his own.

"The bottom line is in this week you really win with individual performance, you win with physical toughness on the field and the fact is the last two years we've won in Florida and we've won the SEC East," Grantham said. "That stuff really has no effect on me or how we prepare."

This and that

Grantham said the linebacker Chase Vasser (labrum) has been cleared to start working full speed with the strength and conditioning staff. … Grantham said he expects all of his defensive signees to be on campus by or around June 3. … Grantham said that junior college transfer Toby Johnson has "really dedicated himself from a "rehabilitation standpoint and an academic standpoint."