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When he was named Defensive MVP at the conclusion of spring drills, many wondered exactly what Josh Harvey-Clemons was showing to earn such a prestigious honor.
Those same people are starting to get a pretty good idea.
Although Georgia's young secondary continues to experience its share of growing pains, Harvey-Clemons is beginning to show the talent that led Rivals.com to label him a five-star performer his senior year at Lowndes High.
Take his effort in the Bulldogs' 44-41 win over LSU Saturday at Sanford Stadium, for example.
Harvey-Clemons was in on 15 tackles for the Bulldogs - the most for a Georgia player since 2010 - helping out both in coverage run support.
"I didn't think I had that many until I looked at the stats myself," Harvey-Clemons said. "I'm pretty sore right now, but it was worth it."
Head coach Mark Richt has liked what he's seen.
"He's very dynamic in his adversity and his ability to cover and just run out. He has good speed sideline to sideline. If you blitz him, he's a good pass rusher. He looks tall and skinny and he kind of is tall and skinny, but he's much bigger than he used to be," Richt said. "He's much more stout. He can take on blocks, he can take on backs without getting knocked back, and he's a great special team's guy. Everyone wants him on special teams because he can run and tackle people in space. He's a big-time guy, and he's really starting to blossom."
He's also versatile.
When he signed with the Bulldogs, Harvey-Clemons was penciled into play outside linebacker in Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme.
But upon arriving on campus, he was switched to safety before Grantham began experimenting with him at "star," which in Georgia's 3-4 scheme is a nickel-back that can also play outside linebacker and also play underneath in zone coverage.
"I've adjusted to it a lot better than I thought I would," Harvey-Clemons said. "I feel I've done alright. I still have a lot of work to do on my coverage skills."
Against LSU, Harvey-Clemons got to test his skills against two of the league's best in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.
In the game, Georgia stuck with its 3-4 base for much of the contest, leaving the sophomore as the strong safety instead of the star.
The final stats credited Harvey-Clemons -with one pass breakup, although it appeared during the game that he actually had three.
His 27 tackles rank second on the team behind linebackers Ramik Wilson (37) and Amarlo Herrera (36).
"(Run support) is my strong point, although like I said I just have to work on my coverage skills and get better at that," he said. "I should have had an interception in the North Texas game, but I dropped that one. There was another one in the same game that I caught but the guy rolled over on top of me and they gave it to him."
But although he's off to a good start after serving a one-game suspension against Clemson, Harvey-Clemons knows he and the rest of Georgia's young secondary still has a lot to learn.
"Coach Grantham is just going with his game plan. Whatever he dials up, we're trying to execute," Harvey-Clemons said. "For him to have that much faith in us, it means a lot."
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