February 01, 2012
As infuriating as a bad driver on the interstate, the fast-paced world of recruiting was thrown into gridlock with Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes athlete Josh Harvey-Clemons committing to Georgia but not signing and then regretting his commitment.
Due, in large part, to his family.
Georgia, Florida and Florida State coaches are sitting in the passing lane and collectively yelling: Get out of the way Gramps.
Harvey-Clemons was adopted by his grandparents, Woodrow and Vanessa Clemons, following the tragic passing of his parents and according to multiple reports — like this one from the Atlanta Journal Constitution — Woodrow will have a major say in the recruiting process.
Harvey-Clemons was rated as the top player in the Peach State and committed to Georgia just after 9 a.m. Wednesday but as of mid-afternoon, his Letter-of-Intent still hadn't been faxed to Athens, Ga.
According to ESPN.com, the family of Harvey-Clemons, the county's No. 31 recruit as an athlete, wasn't thrilled with his choice. Many believed Florida State was the runnerup, but the network reports the Clemons family prefers Florida.
"There's definitely some surprise [at Georgia] and concern," said Jake Rowe of UGAsports.com.
Meantime, a source in Gainesville, Fla., tells Rivals.com the Gators haven't given up on Harvey-Clemons. Florida is "still swinging," according to the source.
Florida was the first program to offer the 6-feet-5, 208-pound Harvey-Clemons, who projects as an outside linebacker in college but also could play receiver or even safety. For weeks, the talented player said Georgia and Florida were his co-leaders.
But Florida State jumped into the mix after a good visit to Tallahassee two weeks ago. Harvey-Clemons then made an official to Miami last weekend, and afterward said the Hurricanes were also being considered.
Calls and texts to Harvey-Clemons and his legal guardian have not been returned.
This is the second consecutive year that a major recruit has committed on national television only to delay his decision. Class of 2012 offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandijo committed to Auburn only to change his mind hours later and send his Letter of Intent to Alabama.
Each of the coaches from Florida, Georgia, and Florida State appeared to be well aware of the influence that the grandfather played in the decision and took turns attending church with the elder Clemons who had attended the same church for nearly 50 years.
A report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution said that each had visited the church on trips up to win over the family, and used the collection plate as a recruiting tool.
"We gave everybody a heads up, and they were surprised to see [Muschamp]," Woodrow Clemons told the paper. "And the collection plate was equally surprised."
Georgia coach Mark Richt, a well known coach for his Christian beliefs, as well as Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher also took their turn spending time at Mt. Calvary Baptist.
As all three schools wait to see who will land the five-star prospect each has to hope it is figuring that the decision will come soon.
As the day wear one his destination may not be sealed but one thing is for sure, it will be tense at the family dinner table.