Georgia will be without starting safety Josh Harvey-Clemons when the Bulldogs open the season against Clemson on Aug. 31.
Georgia coach Mark Richt confirmed to the AJC that Harvey-Clemons would indeed be suspended for the nationally-televised opener when asked about it before the SEC Meetings in Destin on Tuesday. He declined further comment.
“Here’s what I’ll say on that: Josh Harvey-Clemons is going to miss the first game of the season,” he said. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
Asked if a one-game suspension is automatic in this case: “I’m just going to say he’s got a one-game suspension.”
Harvey-Clemons a rising sophomore from Valdosta, was implicated in an incident involving the use of marijuana in a UGA dorm room on May 15. Also involved in that incident was teammate Ty Flournoy-Smith, a sophomore tight end from Moultrie. Flournoy-Smith, who was also arrested on an unrelated misdemeanor charge in February, was advised last week by coach Mark Richt to transfer to a junior college.
Asked if this incident is the reason Flournoy-Smith left school, Richt said: “I’m just going to let y’all figure that (out).”
According to UGA Police incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday, police were called to Vandiver Hall on River Road at 11:33 p.m. on May 15 after a residence hall assistant detected the odor of marijuana emanating from room number 303. Police knocked on the door and found Harvey-Clemons and Flournoy-Smith inside.
Police were granted consent to search the residence and no marijuana was found. However, Flournoy-Smith and Harvey-Clemons were said to have “exhibited signs of marijuana ingestion” as they had blood-shot eyes and dilated pupils. After questioning, the players admitted they had “smoked a blunt,” which is slang for a using a cigar to smoke marijuana, police said.
During the search, police found a digital scale in one of Flournoy-Smith drawers was and a plastic bag was located in a bathroom trash can that contained “a barely visible flake of possible marijuana.” Police advised the two players there was “no physical evidence to support prosecution” on marijuana possession charges. However, they were told the incident would be documented and turned over to the UGA’s Office of Student Conduct.
UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said he called Georgia’s coaches to inform them of the incident. The UGA Athletic Association’s marijuana-use policy calls for a suspension of 10 percent of competition dates for a first-time violation. That would translate to at least one game if administered.
Georgia officials, including Richt, were all in Destin for the SEC Meetings and were not immediately available for comment.
Harvey-Clemons, a 5-star prospect when he signed with Georgia out of Lowndes County High, earned the starting job at strong safety during spring practice. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound athlete played in all 14 games as a freshman, primarily on special teams.
Flournoy-Smith, also a sophomore, was a tight end who played in eight games but did not record a catch.
Staff writer Tim Tucker contributed to this report.
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