- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
Editor’s note: Over the next several weeks, we’ll take a look at each position on Georgia’s depth chart and project how it might look in the future. Today we examine Georgia’s safeties:
Current two-deep depth chart:
* Who’s ready to move up for more playing time?: Josh Harvey-Clemons might be one of the most intriguing prospects for increased playing time on Georgia’s entire roster. The wiry freshman was ESPN’s top outside linebacker prospect when he signed with the Bulldogs last February, but he is simply not heavy enough to play linebacker right now. He played nickelback for most of his freshman season, but figures to be an every-down player somewhere in 2013. Certainly Georgia’s coaches will also be looking for more from Moore, who disappointingly has not played many important scrimmage downs by this point.
High-profile commits: With veteran starters Williams and Rambo departing, the Bulldogs have an enormous amount of playing time available at safety and will offer that opportunity to a number of 2013 newcomers. ESPN 150 selection Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) plans to attend classes at UGA in spring semester, as will Quincy Mauger (Marietta, Ga./Kell). Paris Bostick (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and junior college prospects Kennar Johnson (Clermont, Fla./Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) and Shaq Fluker (Meridian, Miss./East Mississippi Community College) are also on the Bulldogs’ commitment list.
Additional targets on the board: As of now, it does not appear as though Georgia is looking to add another safety to its commitment list. Keep an eye on Fluker and Johnson, who are sure to attract considerable attention from other four-year schools who don’t have five safety commitments before signing day.
2013 gameplan: Georgia will understandably need time to transition in the secondary after losing Williams and Rambo, as well as senior cornerbacks Sanders Commings (who also played some safety) and Branden Smith. Certainly the coaches expect some of the newcomers to play immediately, which no doubt was part of the reason they pursued junior college safeties Fluker and Johnson. If Harvey-Clemons stays in the secondary, we expect his star to rise in a hurry.
And 2014?: Assuming everyone sticks around, this will be the senior season for Moore, Norman, Fluker and Johnson and the junior season for Harvey-Clemons. After likely experiencing some growing pains in 2013, it would seem as though 2014 would offer a return to stability. Also, Georgia already has a commitment from heavily recruited 2014 safety prospect Nick Glass (Atlanta/St. Pius X).
What about 2015?: Although Georgia will lose some veteran safeties after 2014, the freshmen who are preparing to sign with the Bulldogs will be moving into veteran roles by 2015. Matthews, ESPN’s No. 10 safety prospect in the 2013 class, might be a player to watch for this season.
2dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough