Kentucky commitment courted by others

Josh Clemons, from Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, Ga., just committed to the University of Kentucky in December on Christmas Eve, but that hasn't stopped other programs from pursing him. Two SEC schools are hoping to get the All-State running back on campus for an official visit before signing day in February.

Mississippi State and Vanderbilt are still in the Peach State prospect's ear leading up to signing day.

"When I took the visit to Maryland, Ralph Friedgen was still there," said Josh Clemons. "I liked the visit a lot and the coaches. Coach (James) Franklin went on to Vanderbilt, so they're just now coming on. Coach (John) Donovan and Coach (Charlie) Bankins are trying to get me to take an official visit. I'm just not sure yet if I'm going to do it."

Clemons, 5-10, 205, had scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Maryland, Northwestern, Central Florida, Wake Forest, and Mississippi State before he decided to go with Joker Phillips and the Wildcats.

"I just really liked the environment at Kentucky," Clemons said of his commitment. "It seems like a program on the rise. Looking at the depth chart at running back I feel like I have a good chance to gain early playing time. Plus, it's not too far for my family to come see me play."

Greg Nord was Clemons' recruiter to UK. After an official visit on December 18th, Clemons gave his commitment a week later.

"On my visit we just walked around the campus," Clemons said. "The students were on Christmas break. We got to watch an indoor practice. Then we went into a meeting room and watched film with the coaches."

Clemons had a big senior season rushing for more than 2,000 yards with 26 touchdowns. In the first round of the Georgia AAAA state playoffs, Clemons rushed for 200 yards on 32 carries with one rushing touchdown and another 42 yard reception for a score in a 28-21 upset of top-ranked Northside.

"This year I think I did a better job of finishing off my runs," Clemons said. "I had more big gains of 30 and 40 yards. I think I got faster. During the off-season I work hard on my footwork, and I think it paid off."

To prepare himself for the next level, Clemons plans continued workouts with his father, Charlie Clemons. The elder Clemons played linebacker at UGA and went on to play seven years in the NFL with the Rams, Saints, and Texans. He was part of the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams Super Bowl Championship team.

"I'm going to be working out with my Dad at a place called Competitive Edge Sports in Duluth," Clemons said. "I've run track before, and I'll probably run this year because we got a shot at state in the 4X1 relay. I do the 100 meter dash and throw the shot too."

The Whitewater Wildcats finished 9-3 on the year after a 2nd round playoff loss to Ware County. Clemons was named 1st team All-State and AAAA Offensive Player of the Year. He began contributing on varsity during his freshman season. Now he'll have to begin the process all over again.

"I want to go in with the attitude to work hard, get the plays down pat, and I think that will help me see the field the fastest," said Clemons. "With school I'm looking at Business, but a bunch of the Kentucky players were talking to me about Kinesiology, so I'm going to look at that as well."

While Clemons says his commitment to UK is solid, he's still considering trips to Starkville and/or Nashville.

"I'm supposed to go to Mississippi State next weekend, but I don't know if I'm going to go," Clemons said. "I took my visit to Maryland before I committed to Kentucky. Being committed I'm not sure about taking any other visits. They said to let them know if I change my mind about going, so I'm going to have to think about it."

Clemons, a good student, plans on graduating with his class at Whitewater on May 27th. He wore his favorite number (21) during his junior and senior season for the Wildcats.

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