Harvey-Clemons is 'one of the best players that we have'

semerson@macon.comFebruary 7, 2013 

ATHENS - Josh Harvey-Clemons was the center of last year's signing day drama at Georgia, his signature delayed 24 hours by a family "discussion." As it turned out there was no hurry, because the coaches couldn't really figure out what to do with him as a freshman.

Was he a safety? An outside linebacker? An inside linebacker? The only thing for certain was special teams and for the scout-team defense, where Harvey-Clemons played well enough to remind people why he was a five-star recruit.

So what about 2013? Harvey-Clemons' position is still yet to be determined, based on what defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said on Wednesday. But whether or not Grantham is the one running the defense, it seems Harvey-Clemons is now certain to play.

"He'll be out there somewhere," Grantham said.

Now that Georgia knows who else it has on defense, after NFL draft departures and the signing class, Grantham or whoever is in charge can look at the roster and make a decision. Harvey-Clemons spent last year as a safety, but returning there isn't certain.

"I know who I've got," Grantham said. "The position that he played for us last year, which is the star - the outside backer on the displaced guy - to play those things, I felt like he needed to be in the secondary room, to do those things. We'll evaluate that as we move forward. He's gonna play for us. He's one of the best players that we have in my opinion. Now he's obviously gotta go out and earn that from us. But I think from a learning standpoint, it gave us the best chance to learn all the concepts that we're gonna ask him to do moving forward. And now our job is to get him in the position where he can greatly affect the game."

And about nose tackle ...

The nose tackle position was critical to the improvement in the 3-4 defense between Year 1 and Year 2 of Grantham's tenure. So now with John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers both gone, and top recruiting target Montravius Adams headed to Auburn, where does Grantham see the position?

"I tell you what, (signee) Chris Mayes and (redshirt freshman) Jonathan Taylor, and I would be honest, even (rising junior) Mike Thornton is an older guy, and sometimes older guys their last year through it end up giving you some spark, and some maturity and some toughness," Grantham said.

Then Grantham pointed to what he hopes is better depth on the line - and a better willingness to use it. He specifically cited the team's struggles in the SEC championship game, and indicated they should have played more guys against Alabama.

"And I was looking at our numbers on the defensive front, and we're really going to go into next season with roughly eight guys for those three spots (on the line). That's about right, from a numbers standpoint," Grantham said. "So I think the biggest thing is when I see our guys, I think we have some young, talented guys up there. I think the biggest thing is we need to get them in positions where they can make plays, they can understand the system, they can play fast. I think that we probably need to play a few more guys up there.

"When you look at the SEC championship game in my opinion, we did a lot of great things in the game in my opinion. But the bottom line is in the second half, we didn't stop the run, and I think that by having the depth that we have now, that can help facilitate that a little bit. And help us win that game."

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