- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
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Saturday’s Auburn-Louisville game in Atlanta will be a reunion of sorts for a trio of former Georgia defensive backs. Tray Matthews, now at Auburn, and Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins, now at Louisville, will be on the field together for the first time since they helped lead the Bulldogs to a 59-17 win against Kentucky in November 2013.
"It’s going to be a little different," Matthews said "But for me, I’m just ready and anxious to be out there again.
"I'm ready to play in front of thousands of people and ready to play for this Auburn defense. I’m loving it here. It’s not really a big difference to me. I’m just ready to play football again."
All three Georgia natives are expected to start for their respective teams this Saturday in the Georgia Dome. Here’s a look back at the events that led to this weekend’s homecoming.
Feb. 1, 2012: Harvey-Clemons signs with Georgia
Harvey-Clemons was the oldest of the group, so he was the first to sign with Georgia. The former ESPN 300 star announced his commitment on national signing day, choosing the Bulldogs over Florida, Florida State and Miami. He was the second-highest ranked player in Mark Richt’s 2012 recruiting class.
Feb. 6, 2013: Matthews and Wiggins sign with Georgia
Unlike Harvey-Clemons, there was not as much drama around Matthews and Wiggins when they signed. Both committed to Georgia before their senior season and despite taking official visits and talks of package deals with other recruits, they stuck with their initial decisions. Both were ranked in the top 150 that year.
Nov. 6, 2013: The Prayer at Jordan-Hare
The trio played six games together in 2013, but none more famous (or infamous) than the Auburn-Georgia game in November. In what became known as the "Prayer at Jordan-Hare," the Tigers connected on a Hail Mary in the final minutes where the ball deflected off two Georgia players right into the outstretched arms of Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis. The two defenders? Harvey-Clemons and Matthews.
Jan. 13, 2014: Todd Grantham leaves for Louisville
After the 2013 season, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham left to take the same position at Louisville. This was the first domino to fall that ultimately led Harvey-Clemons and Wiggins to the ACC.
Feb. 18, 2014: Harvey-Clemons dismissed from Georgia
The oldest and most experienced of the group was also the first to go. Harvey-Clemons was dismissed for a violation of team rules, but he had a history of violating the university’s drug use policy that led to his suspension in the 2013 season opener as well as the team’s bowl game that year. While at Georgia, he played in 25 games and made 11 starts.
April 10, 2014: Harvey-Clemons follows Grantham to Louisville
Nearly two months after he was dismissed, Harvey-Clemons made the decision to follow his former defensive coordinator to Louisville.
May 9, 2014: Wiggins transfers
Despite starting eight games as a freshman at Georgia, Wiggins opted to transfer. Said Richt in a release: "Shaq and I have been talking over the last few days and a fresh start is what he believes is in his best interest." Two weeks later, Wiggins chose Louisville and joined his former coach and former teammate.
June 3, 2014: Matthews dismissed from Georgia
The last to go was Matthews, who was dismissed following a reported classroom incident at Georgia. "We are trying to make room for guys who want to do the right thing," said Richt at the time of the dismissal. The decision came three months after Matthews and three of his teammates were arrested and charged with theft by deception.
I'm sorry UGA family.I swear to God I love yal.I'm crying right now but I won't forget. Love the dawgs.Auburn or Louisville will be my home
— TriggaTray (@Trigga_Tray28) June 3, 2014
June 21, 2014: Matthews enrolls at Auburn
It took less than three weeks for Matthews to find a new home at Auburn, Georgia’s cross-division rival. Though joining the others at Louisville was tempting, Matthews wanted to stay in the SEC.
Sept. 5, 2015: Auburn vs. Louisville (in the Georgia Dome)
All three had to sit out last season because of the NCAA transfer rules. Now, they’re all set to make their return to college football on the same field, in the same city, just 80 miles from where they were once teammates.
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