The big news yesterday afternoon was the announcement that starting safety (“star”) Josh Harvey-Clemons was dismissed from the team due to a violation of team rules; and while most looked at his dismissal as a big blow to a Georgia defense that would need its veteran leaders more than ever this year, others saw it as both something that was a long time coming.
Whatever your opinion, the bottom line is this: he had more than one opportunity to straighten up, and fly right, but didn’t. Period. Rules are rules, he broke them, so he’s out. That said, I wish him the best of luck wherever he lands and hope that he takes better care of his next opportunity.
End of chapter. Moving on.
The obvious question is who will take over for the departing Clemons? The first name to get a mention will, obviously, be Tramel Terry.
Terry moved to safety this past December, during bowl practice, and has stated publicly that it was always in the plans, of the previous defensive staff, to move him to the defensive side of the ball. However, if there are any plans to keep him there, then new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt isn’t letting on just yet. When asked about Terry, Pruitt played it safe by saying he hadn’t really had time to take a look at him yet, due to his focus on recruiting, but you can rest assured he’ll be looking hard for his next “star” come spring ball. It’s a position that’s every bit as crucial to him as it was to Grantham.
Working in Terry’s favor is the fact that he is a dynamic football player, with great instincts, on the field. He’s explosive as an offensive player, but he has the size and frame to be a very good defensive player as well. However, in my humble opinion, Terry would be a much better fit at corner because, from what I’ve seen of his footwork and hip movement, he has all the makings of developing into a nice cover corner; again, though, that’s just my opinion.
But, if not Terry to replace Harvey-Clemons, what about rising sophomore Quincy Mauger?
Mauger would be an intriguing option because he’s actually had some experience playing the “star” in his first season; he got progressively better as the weeks wore on, and you could see that he was a much more confident player towards the end of the season, than he was at the beginning. That said, the issue with Mauger is, while he’s a very serviceable player as a safety, he’s a bit more thickly built than Terry and might not have the ability to play the position full-time.
I can see Mauger being a fill-in at that spot, if needed, but I don’t know if he can be its bonafide replacement; I honestly see him becoming more of a situational player—lined up during nickel and dime sets—this season.
And then there’s Malkom Parrish, whom Pruitt told he would be looking at for the “star” position, despite his size, long before news of Harvey-Clemons’ dismissal was made public, or even thought to be a possibility.
Parrish starred at quarterback in high school, but has a skill-set similar to that of Terry’s, in that he’s just good with the football in his hands. If I had to find a difference between the two, it would be in Parrish’s ability to read and react to the snap of the ball. Where Terry is more instinctive, at the moment, due to his experience as both a running back and receiver, Parrish is more cerebral in his approach to seeing the play as it develops. His time as a quarterback is a plus as far as that goes, and I think that will ultimately be what helps him progress quickly as a defensive back—no matter where he’s placed.
At this point, it’s all speculation as to whom will fill those rather big shoes Harvey-Clemons leaves behind, but it’s clear someone will have to step up and make it happen and, to be honest, there’s not a player on this roster that can completely be ruled out as of yet.