The Georgia Bulldogs will be without projected starting safety Joshua Harvey-Clemons in the August 31st season opener against the Clemson Tigers, as the sophomore was handed a one-game suspension due to the violation of team rules stemming from an incident in a UGA dorm room on May 15th that involved marijuana.
Harvey-Clemons, who signed with the Bulldogs as part of the “Dream Team” Class of 2012 as a 5-star athlete from Valdosta, Georgia, played in all fourteen of Georgia’s games in his freshman year but did not see any starts during that time, instead playing primarily on the special teams unit.
As if Georgia did not have enough to worry about going into the first game of the season due to the loss of practically their entire starting defense from 2012, the suspension of Harvey-Clemons just adds insult to injury, as the Bulldogs will be without one of their best prospects against arguably the best offense they will face in the regular season. In Harvey-Clemons’ place at free safety will be true freshman Tray Matthews, which definitely should have Bulldogs fans a little anxious.
Does Harvey-Clemons’ absence mean the Bulldogs should consider themselves to already be playing from behind in this game? Hardly, as Harvey-Clemons has never started a game in college—let alone at safety—and would not have necessarily been a “sure thing” as Georgia’s last line of defense against the pass. However, the Bulldogs were not handed a favorable hand with his suspension due to the fact that it makes the team look elsewhere for answers than they had originally planned, which I’m sure has some of the coaches staying awake at night.
To be excessively blunt about the situation, Joshua Harvey-Clemons’ extremely bad decision cost him his first start of the season, and may ultimately prove to be a deciding factor in this seemingly even matchup.