VALDOSTA - Regarded as the state of Georgia's best player, Lowndes' Josh Harvey-Clemons announced Wednesday that he will be staying in-state to play his college football.
The 6-foot, 5-inch Clemons announced he will attend the University of Georgia this fall, picking the Bulldogs over offers from Florida, Florida State and Miami.
"I had a strong relationship with Coach (Todd) Grantham and after leaving there it felt like home and I knew immediately that is where I wanted to go," Clemons said about his decision.
Hours after Clemons made the announcement, news started to surface that his National Letter of Intent had not yet arrived at the Georgia Athletic Department.
It was later learned that Clemons' grandfather and legal guardian, Woodrow Clemons, would not sign the letter because he was not pleased with his choice.
According to Clemons' uncle, Roy Hart, who is one of the basketball coaches at Lowndes High School, Woodrow was nowhere to be found. The Valdosta Daily Times did not reach Woodrow Clemons, despite multiple attempts.
Hart did say that Clemons was "upbeat and standing by his commitment" to the University of Georgia. When Georgia released its official list of 2012 signings, Clemons was not on the list.
Once Clemons does officially sign with Georgia, it would mark the second-straight season the Bulldogs will have secured the Region 1-AAAAA Player of the Year on back-to-back seasons, after current Bulldog, Malcolm Mitchell earned the honor in 2010 while playing at Valdosta High School.
"I talked to Malcolm and he just told me to make the best decision for me," Clemons said. "He told me I was going to have to work where ever I go, so make sure to go where I wanted to be."
Clemons and Mitchell will also be joined by the 2011 Offensive Player of the Year from Region 1, as Colquitt County's Ty Flournoy-Smith signed with the Bulldogs less than two hours after Clemons.
Clemons' announcement was delayed for several minutes while he waited for a family member to bring a Florida Gator hat to the table. When the time was right, Clemons turned the attention over to his sister Ashley, who unveiled a red Georgia t-shirt from underneath her sweatshirt.
Clemons followed up his sister's unveiling by placing the red Georgia 'G' hat onto his head.
"She was probably the only one I told," Clemons said. "So, she already knew and she kept asking 'Do I need to go get the shirt?' So I told her 'yeah, just get the shirt.'"
Wednesday's announcement capped off a busy recruiting season for the U.S. Army All-American, as he most recently visited Miami just this past weekend. All the recruiting trips didn't seem to matter though, as the five-star recruit admitted that he knew Georgia was going to be his choice following his official visit in early September.
"The other schools, all were great. All the visits I went on went good and I built relationships with the coaches, but when I left Georgia, I just knew that is where I wanted to be," Clemons said. "I knew that is where I wanted to play at for the next four years."
Clemons said he is looking forward to getting back to his normal, everyday life of being a teenager. He will also re-join his Lowndes basketball teammates, as the tall 6-foot, 5-inch standout serves as the teams' center.
"It is a big relief," Clemons said. "Now I can get back to a normal life and I can keep my phone on more often."
For now, it looks as though Clemons life will be anything but normal, as he continues to be the most talked about player in the nation.
Although recruited as an outside linebacker, Clemons can play multiple positions. During his senior season, he lined up at six different positions for the Vikings. Defensively, he spent time at linebacker before moving to safety prior to the annual showdown with cross-town rival Valdosta.
He also lined up, sparingly, at defensive end. Despite the moves to different positions, Clemons recorded a team-high 117 tackles and three interceptions. Offensively, he recorded three rushing and three receiving touchdowns, while also going 2 for 4 passing.
"He is a great kid and a great football player," Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson said. "I am real excited to see what he does when he gets up there. We all know, here at Lowndes, that he is going to have a great career."
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