Mark Richt worked hard in pursuit of five-star Valdosta, Ga., linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons — at one point he may have even tithed hard — and as of Wednesday morning, it looked like his efforts had paid off: Harvey-Clemons announced on live television that he planned to attend Georgia, at which point Richt took the opportunity to wax rhapsodic about the crown jewel of his new class:
"I'm sure glad he became a Bulldog," Richt told ESPNU during its live recruiting broadcast. "He's a great kid and he's so versatile. He can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, he can rush the passer and, quite frankly, he's quite a wide receiver, too."
And so everyone went home happy, another strong Bulldog recruiting class in the books. Or so it appeared until a little after 5 p.m., when the UGA athletic offices closed for the day without an official letter of intent from Harvey-Clemons. When the university sent out a list of 18 new signees, the No. 1 player in the state was nowhere to be found — apparently, because his grandfather was nowhere to be found.
Though Richt, Harvey-Clemons himself and other members of Harvey-Clemons' family insisted throughout the day that Harvey-Clemons was committed to Georgia and still had every intention of signing with the Bulldogs, he can't send in his letter of intent until it also bears the signature of his legal guardian. In this case, that's Harvey-Clemons' grandfather, Woodrow Clemons, who adopted his grandson following the death of both of Harvey-Clemons' parents. An uncle told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Wednesday afternoon that Woodrow Clemens had "sort of gone AWOL," quite possibly because he was put off by the prospect of signing a letter to Georgia instead of Florida or Florida State. Not long after that, UGA closed up shop with nothing to show for its apparent victory a few hours earlier:
UGA spokesperson Claude Felton said he did not know if any more letters-of-intent would be coming over the fax machine on Wednesday. "We're not going to be just sitting here overnight. If anything was to come up, I'm sure they would call one of the coaches and, in that case, they would come over here and get it. I'm sure they would call me at that point. But, no, there's not going to be people standing at the fax machine overnight."
Well, no, of course not. Hilarious as the thought may be, it's completely unreasonable to ask anyone to stay up till all hours staring at a piece of inert, out-of-date technology in the vain hope that its life-affirming whirr may produce an 18-year-old's signature from thin air and you just know Mark Richt is staring grimly at the fax machine as we speak, isn't he? Come on, coach. After all this time, what's one more sleepless night? He likes you. You like him. What could possibly go wrong?
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