At safety look for Connor Norman to get the nod. He knows the system and has played in this very situation last season, and the season before that, while Rambo was serving his suspensions. In fact, if this news had broken in the weeks leading up to the season opener instead of months, I would say with relative certainty that Norman would start at safety in Harvey-Clemons' place. But with months to prepare instead of last minute adjustments, I would say there's a reasonable possibility that someone else could work their way ahead of Norman.
|Shaq Fluker (via)|
- Corey Moore has been on campus a couple years and has comparable size to Harvey-Clemons. Coming out of high school he was a four star defensive back and ranked the fifth best at his position. He's been in 26 games while in Athens; his best game to date was against Georgia Southern last season when he recorded four tackles. At this point, he's either ready or he's not.
- Shaq Fluker is a community college signee that will enroll next month and go through summer workouts. He will give up a little in size and could bring plenty of talent as an option, but it will be raw talent. Regardless, he'll get a good look in August.
- For more on this speculation, check out Emerson's post from yesterday as he tries and breaks down Grantham's options. However, he leaves out one possibility, Kennar Johnson. Also enrolling next month, Johnson is coming off a decent season at Gulf Coast Community College. He gives up more in size, but he has plenty of playing experience after two "transition" stops post high school.
The bigger concern is who takes Harvey-Clemons place in the nickel, which is the primary set Georgia will run against Clemson's offensive attack. The "star" position was made for kids like Josh, a hybrid size on defense that combines speed, stature, physicality and athleticism. Grantham will certainly have to adjust his gameplan to find a way to add depth to both the defensive front and the backfield at the same time. The guys listed above could help fill that role, but I would add:
- Reggie Wilkerson. He would be an after thought except that he was able to enroll early and has a leg up on any late comers this summer. The pros seem to be his cover skills and ability to be around the ball. The cons are he wouldn't help much with run support and is probably not ready to be thrust into the position of making so many reads. Yet, that's where we are, aren't we?
- Devin Bowman. Has some experience on his side as this will be his redshirt sophomore season. May recognize more than Wilkerson and has shown he can tackle and help out on the edge. He may be our best option in this package for this game.
- Shaq Wiggins. If there's anything I learned from this past recruiting season it's that Shaquille Wiggins has plenty of want to. He's coming to Athens to enroll this summer and he's not the ideal size for this spot, but like so many others, he'll get a good look this August. His eyes should've gotten a little wider with yesterday's news.
So that's where we are. Not sure who I may have missed. But please add them in the comments. As Emerson mentions, most of these guys are traditional d-backs and don't bring that added dimension of physicality that Harvey-Clemons smoked away. So we put our trust in Coach Grantham to make the necessary adjustments for week one.
Thomas Davis has some eligibility left, doesn't he?