Published March 6, 2013 - 2:45pm
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A five-star ranking and $1.25 will get you a cup of coffee at the local gas station. And two former five-star caliber players exiting high school who found that out are Ray Drew and Josh Harvey-Clemons.
Georgia’s knock in the past hasn’t been getting players on campus; it’s been developing them once they’re on campus. Playing in the SEC is tough, and living up to all the hype is sometimes even tougher. But Drew and Harvey-Clemons must become impact players at positions of need.
All the focus this spring for the Bulldogs rests solely upon the development of the young and inexperienced defense. Losing nine starters from a unit with big names at virtually every position is quite unsettling, especially knowing the offense is good enough to win a national championship.
Ray Drew entered Georgia as the Pied Piper of Mark Richt’s ‘Dream Team’. Aside from Malcolm Mitchell, John Jenkins and Damian Swann, the valiant 2011 recruiting class hasn’t exactly turned out the way everyone expected yet.
At 6-5, 280 pounds, Drew is a hawse of a player who is capable of so much more than he’s produced in two years. Drew has registered just 31 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss and hasn’t recorded a sack yet, struggling to break into the lineup behind Abry Jones, Cornelius Washington and Garrison Smith.
Drew, however, plans to step up his leadership as a silent assassin and expressed he knows he’ll have a good year, via the AJC.
“I’m not one who’s going to go out there and get everyone excited,” he said. “I’m not going to give a Ray Lewis speech before the game. I’m going to let my actions do my speaking.
“I have good size and I can move well for my size,” said Drew, who said he currently weighs 280 pounds. “I’m working on my quickness off the ball also. So I feel with my combination of size, speed and power I can be – I don’t want to say a force to be reckoned with – but I believe I’ll do very well this year.”
Meanwhile rising sophomore safety/linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons is looking to breakout, too. JHC will work with the safeties and linebackers throughout spring, according to Todd Grantham, but he’s only worked with the safeties so far, mostly due to his inexperience and failure to add any weight to his 6-5, 218-pound frame, via the Athens Banner-Herald.
“I’m just trying to get safety down pat right now,” he said.
“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.”
JHC played in all 14 games last season making 14 tackles, mostly on special teams.
Now with Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams notably absent in the secondary, JHC’s play will be under the microscope in 2013.
Even without the big names of Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and John Jenkins, among others, Georgia’s overall defense could improve in 2013. But Ray Drew and JHC are two of the biggest names who must emerge as gamers.
Photo Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports