Harvey-Clemons ‘trying to get safety down pat right now’

Josh Harvey-Clemons has worked only in the secondary in Georgia’s two spring practices so far.

He’s lined up at strong safety in the base defense and covering the slot receiver at the star position in the nickel package, he said after practice tonight.

What about outside linebacker?

“Not yet,” he said. “No, not yet.”

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham told the sophomore what he told reporters prior to spring practice that the Valdosta product will be playing both safety and outside linebacker.

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“I’m just trying to get safety down pat right now,” Harvey-Clemons said.

The 6-foot-5 Harvey-Clemons, a five-star recruit in 2012, said he weighs 218 pounds now, only three more than what he was during bowl practices.

“He looks slim, doesn’t he?” coach Mark Richt said. “Surprisingly, he’s relatively stout on contact. Even though he looks tall and rangy, which he is, he doesn’t look super thick, but there’s something about him. When he strikes, he actually holds up pretty good. We also want him to be a great cover guy. We want him to be able to cover tight ends. We want him to maybe cover a slot receiver and things of that nature. He’s very versatile in his athleticism. Can he play some outside linebacker? Yeah, we think so. Can he play some safety? We think so too. The thing for him is to learn it.”

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Harvey-Clemons said he shed a few pounds during workouts, but he is eating more and trying to add more protein to his diet.

“I’ve been getting a lot stronger in the weight room, but still not putting on the weight good yet,” Harvey-Clemons said. “This whole time I’ve been working out (in mat drills) with the outside linebackers, but when the first practice started I just went with the safeties.”

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Harvey-Clemons was working second-team strong safety early in practice Tuesday behind Corey Moore. Freshman Tray Matthews was the first-team free safety.

Harvey-Clemons said playing some snaps in a reserve role in the secondary last season gave him a grasp of the concepts.

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“I see him excelling at that position,” cornerback Sheldon Dawson said. “By him playing strong safety to be that tall at safety, that’s a good thing. Many people say he lacks on size, but his hearts so big and he’s so determined, he’ll try to knock anything off.”

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