Josh Harvey-Clemons will forever be linked to Georgia's disastrous finish in its memorable loss at Auburn, but he's doing an impressive job of moving on.
The sophomore safety wreaked repeated havoc in Saturday night's 59-17 dismantling of Kentucky, compiling six tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. His biggest play occurred four minutes into the third quarter, when he stuffed tailback Raymond Sanders for no gain, causing a fumble that he recovered at Kentucky's 30-yard line to set up a short touchdown drive.
"I'm really proud of what Josh has done," Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "He's a hard worker. He's competitive. He cares about our program, and he cares about playing the way you want him to play.
"He's going to be a good player and has kind of developed a knack for getting the ball out on guys. He got one out at Auburn, but they didn't give it to us."
Harvey-Clemons made nine tackles and forced a fumble during the 43-38 loss at Auburn on Nov. 16, but he is remembered more for colliding with teammate Tray Matthews on Georgia's final defensive play. Matthews was in position to catch a fourth-and-18 desperation pass by the Tigers, but Harvey-Clemons tipped the ball into the air, allowing Auburn receiver Ricardo Louis to snag it for a miraculous 73-yard touchdown.
Hours after the Auburn game, Harvey-Clemons posted on Twitter, "Definitely a play I'd like to have back," and he has not spoken with the media since.
"On the mistake he made, he was just trying to go all out to make a play, but it ended up going bad," senior nose tackle Garrison Smith said. "I can't get mad at him for trying to make a play. He knew he couldn't live in the past, and he came out with a point to prove. I'm proud of him."
Georgia head coach Mark Richt said he asked Harvey-Clemons in the days after the Auburn game if he had learned anything, and Harvey-Clemons told him he had. When Richt asked specifically what he had learned, Harvey-Clemons responded, "Bat the ball down."
The 6-foot-5, 212-pounder from Valdosta ranks third on the team with 59 tackles and third also with five broken-up passes. He leads the Bulldogs with three fumble recoveries and is tied for the lead with two forced fumbles.
His totals are from 10 games due to a single-game suspension to open the season, and Saturday's performance rivaled his 15-tackle performance against LSU that included two pass breakups.
"The arrow is up on him as a player," Grantham said. "He is going to continue to excel."
Odds and ends
Defensive end Sterling Bailey (ankle) and safety Corey Moore (knee) sat out Monday's one-hour full-pads practice, while safety Tray Matthews (shoulder) was limited. ... Georgia senior nose tackle Garrison Smith was named SEC defensive lineman of the week after tallying seven tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles against Kentucky. ... Richt said on his radio show Monday night that quarterback Aaron Murray is having his knee surgery today and wants to make the trip Saturday to Georgia Tech.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 243-757-6524.