ATHENS – Greetings from Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, or recruiting central here at UGA, where the Bulldogs just received their biggest news of the day.
Josh Harvey-Clemons, the athletic defensive end/outside linebacker from Lowndes County, announced during an awkward live telecast by ESPNU that he was signing with the Bulldogs. He chose UGA over Florida State, Florida and Miami.
This is a huge acquisition on a couple of fronts. Never mind that he is considered the No. 1 player in the state. The truth is, Georgia would have been fine without his addition as it is well stocked at the position. But it’s more important from the standpoint of the Bulldogs re-establishing themselves in the city of Valdosta and at Lowndes High in particular.
There has been a pipeline that has run between Valdosta and Tallahassee for a number of years now and still gets some pretty good use. But the Bulldogs have secured the best players out of that city the last couple of years, including Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome last year.
It’s also an important get from momentum and perception standpoint. The Bulldogs aren’t expected to sign a big class this year, but JHC is the sort of prospect who moves the needle from a respect standpoint.
“I knew when I went there that’s where I wanted to go,” said Harvey-Clemons, who visited UGA on January 13. “It just felt like home and they want to win there.”
Harvey-Clemons said his family liked head coach Mark Richt but that it was his dealings with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham that solidified his decision.
“I would say I had a strong relationship with Coach Grantham,” Harvey-Clemons said. “He’s put a lot of players in the NFL and I wanted to play for him.”
Those concerned about UGA’s wide receiver recruitment might be happy to know coach Mark Richt said Harvey-Clemons could get some looks there, mainly for redzone offense.
“I’m sure glad he became a Bulldog,” Richt told ESPNU during its live recruiting broadcast. “He’s a great kid and he’s so versatile. He can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, he can rush the passer and, quite frankly, he’s quite a wide receiver, too.”