I know they’ve got big plans for Josh Harvey-Clemons. But I didn’t realize just how enamored Grantham has been with JH-C’s potential.
Todd Grantham first saw the unique talents of Josh Harvey-Clemons on a scouting video. The first time Grantham saw him in person was in a basketball game. By then, Grantham was convinced: Here was something special. Here was a player who could be used everywhere.
Grantham, Georgia’s defensive coordinator, envisioned using Harvey-Clemons at safety or maybe at nickel cornerback or outside and inside linebacker. Maybe he could even start a play on the line.
Asked if he has ever had a player like that, Grantham shook his head.
“Not like that,” he said. “He’s pretty rare.”
I remember the last time a Georgia defensive coordinator discovered a safety prospect at a basketball game. But I digress.
The interesting thing about Harvey-Clemons’ progression is that his body type seems to have left the coaches unable to decide how best to deploy his talent.
Last season there wasn’t really an opening for Harvey-Clemons on Georgia’s veteran defense. Besides, Grantham was still trying to figure out the best way to use him.
“We knew he was something; we just weren’t sure what,” Grantham said.
The 6-foot-5 Harvey-Clemons began at safety, with an eye on gaining weight and moving to outside linebacker. But the weight has never really come on, and he’s around 220 pounds now.
Whatever the deal with that, Grantham sounds pretty sold on the kid now.
In the offseason, Grantham basically built the defense around Harvey-Clemons, deciding to use him at the star. The Bulldogs are in their nickel defense (usually a 4-2-5) much of the time. So Grantham has utilized the star position during his four years at Georgia, with the likes of Ogletree (an inside linebacker) and Brandon Boykin (a cornerback) playing there.
But Harvey-Clemons seems the most ideal to the role.
“We thought he was pretty athletic, but once we got him here and saw his coverage skills and saw his length, he creates a different dimension for that position,” Grantham said. “A little different than a Boykin kind of deal. So we kind of chose to go that kind of route with him.”
I don’t expect world domination from JH-C tomorrow. After all, he’s starting the learning curve at the same spot his teammates were in last Saturday. But if he’s as talented as his teammates and coaches insist he is and if Grantham is scheming around that talent, I do expect to see an overall improvement from what we saw against Clemson.