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Georgia finally gets its guy, LB Harvey-Clemons

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Nearly 24 hours later, Georgia finally has
its top prospect and one of the best recruiting classes in the
country.

Josh Harvey-Clemons, an outside linebacker from Lowndes High
School in Valdosta, went on national television to announce he was
signing with the Bulldogs.

But he didn't immediately follow up by faxing his official
letter-of-intent to the school, leading to reports his family
wasn't happy with the decision and wanted him to attend either
Florida or Florida State, which are both much closer to their south
Georgia home than Athens.

Turns out, Harvey-Clemons didn't waver.

The Bulldogs announced he faxed his papers to the school at 8:30
a.m. Thursday -- almost a full day after his announcement -- to give
the Bulldogs a total of 19 signees and a class ranked among the top
10 in the country by at least two major recruiting services.

"I knew when I went there, that's where I wanted to go,"
Harvey-Clemons said when revealing his decision. "It felt like
home. It seemed like they want to win and compete for
championships."

He developed an especially strong bond during the recruiting
process with Todd Grantham, Georgia's defensive coordinator, and
expects to flourish in the Bulldogs' 3-4 scheme.

"It seems like he's put a lot of players in the NFL,"
Harvey-Clemons said. "That's where I want to get."

Georgia coach Mark Richt gushed over the announcement shortly
after it was made in a television interview, which could be viewed
as a minor violation of NCAA rules since a signing is not
considered official until the school receives the signed
letter-of-intent. Richt declined any additional comment on
Harvey-Clemons at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, as did
recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner.

All Garner would say: "We can't talk about anybody if we don't
have a fax. We don't anticipate any hang-ups. We've just got to get
the fax. That's it."

Richt and Garner were not immediately available for comment
after Harvey-Clemons sent in his papers. Two messages left at the
home of Woodrow Clemons, the teenager's grandfather and legal
guardian, were not returned.

On Wednesday, the 6-foot-5, 208-pound player announced he would
sign with the Bulldogs by having his sister pull off her sweatshirt
to reveal a red Georgia T-shirt. Harvey-Clemons then put on a red
cap with the trademark "G."

While he figures to make his mark mainly on defense, Richt said
in his initial TV interview that Harvey-Clemons could also get some
work on Georgia's offense. He starred on both sides of the line at
Lowndes.

"Quite frankly, he's a heck of a wide receiver, too," Richt
said. "We may need to use his talents inside the 20-yard line. He
has such great leaping ability and strong hands."

Georgia's recruiting class also included a leading running back
from North Carolina, Keith Marshall, who's already enrolled in
college; an offensive lineman from Florida who could challenge for
playing time right away, John Theus; and two more of the home
state's top prospects, linebacker Jordan Jenkins of Hamilton and
315-pound defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor of Millen.
]
Richt called it a versatile class that will help the Bulldogs
build on a comeback year. After going 6-7 in 2010 and losing the
first two games last season, firing up speculation about the
coach's future, Georgia won 10 straight to claim a spot in the
Southeastern Conference championship game.

With most starters returning in 2012, including several
third-year players who passed up a chance to enter the NFL draft,
the Bulldogs are likely to begin next season ranked in the top 10.

"People were waiting to see how things were going to go,"
Richt said. "We have tremendous momentum now, even going into next year's class."

Marshall and another signee from North Carolina, Todd Gurley,
are expected to push Isaiah Crowell for playing time in the
backfield.

Crowell was last year's top signee and had a solid season on the
field, ranking fifth in the SEC with 847 yards rushing despite
missing two games. But he had injury problems and disciplinary
issues, including a failed drug test that resulted in a one-game
suspension.

Richt said there should be enough carries for everyone.

"There aren't many running backs anymore thinking, `I've got to
be the only guy,"' the coach said. "To carry 25 or 30 times in
our league, it's just not healthy for you, it's just not good for
you. You want guys to share the load, to keep you healthy, to keep
you fresh. I think they are all special backs. I'm excited about
it."

Georgia's recruiting class broke down like this: a quarterback,
two running backs, a fullback, a receiver, a tight end, three
offensive linemen, two defensive linemen, five linebackers, a
punter, a kicker, and one player listed as an athlete who will
likely play cornerback.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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