Dawgs pay tons of attention to Harmon

LOUISVILLE – A.J. Harmon is getting a lot of recruiting love – he got even more on Monday night.

Harmon and the Jefferson County football team welcomed Georgia's Mark Richt as the speaker for their annual banquet.

"Coach Richt talked about being a leader," Harmon said. "He was saying ‘either you can choose to step up, or not – either way people are going to criticize you. So why not go ahead and step up?'"

Harmon said Richt also spoke about another virtue.

"He talked about being honest, and about how important that was," Harmon said.

But Richt was not the only Dawg in the house for the occasion. Former Jefferson County star and current starting Georgia offensive lineman Fernando Velasco made the trip back home for the end-of-year event. Harmon has said that he looks up to Velasco, but that Georgia does not have a recruiting advantage because he's in Athens.

"Coach Richt, Bubba, Kregg Lumpkin, Paul Oliver and Marcus Howard all came down,' said Harmon as he chuckled. "I was happy that they came and spoke to me. I was surprised that they brought so many people down to the banquet."

The amount of players Georgia brought wasn't the only surprise for Harmon – he got an award, which is usually given to seniors on the Jefferson County team.

"I got an award and that surprised me because it's usually seniors that get them," he admitted. "I am not going to get the big head about it, and I don't want people to think that I got the big head about things."

Still, recognition is new for Harmon.

"That was the first time I have ever had to sign autographs," he said with a laugh. "I didn't know I had fans."

Lumpkin, who has no shortage of fans himself, spoke with Harmon about what to look for in a school, and why he picked Georgia.

"I talked with Kregg about why he picked Georgia," Harmon said. "I was glad I did. There are some things he pointed out to me that I am going to look for in other schools. They told Kregg that they would not recruit another running back in his class – and they didn't; stuff like that. He told me to make sure what coaches tell you is true. If schools are real with you then you know that you've got a good situation."

Harmon will get the chance to do so in the coming months. He is going to try to visit Clemson and Georgia specifically for their spring games.

"I am going to try to get to their spring games, but that's going to be hard to figure out," he said of the scheduling.

Florida will use text messaging, the Gators' favorite mode of communication, to keep up with Harmon, he said.

"Florida just wants me for offense, they told me," he said. "They text me a lot and I text them back."

Meanwhile, Clemson is still pushing hard for the East Georgia star.

"Coach Bowden came down on Friday," Harmon acknowledged. "He told my coaches that they are very interested in me. Coach Brad Scott said that I could play all three positions, but I'm not sure about playing center."

But Monday night was about Georgia, and what the Dawgs had to offer. Harmon says he's become closer with Richt, and that won't hurt Georgia's chances.


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