As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today we’ll focus on linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons:
1. He shares an alma mater with head coach Jay Gruden.
Josh Harvey-Clemons, drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft, is the first player to be selected out of Louisville during the tenure of head coach Jay Gruden, who also played for the Cardinals.
As a safety, Harvey-Clemons started all 13 games for Louisville and was a second-team All-ACC pick, recording 61 tackles (four for loss) and two sacks.
- He’s the “steal of the seventh round.”**
With Harvey-Clemons’ talent and ability, NFL network draft commentators thought that he should have been selected in an earlier round. The Redskins chose Harvey-Clemons just five spots before Joshua Holsey, the team’s second seventh-round pick.
Though the linebacker appreciates the opportunity to play with the Redskins, he, too, expected a higher draft selection. Despite this setback, he plans to transform his disappointment into inspiration.
“It leaves me with a big chip [on my shoulder],” Harvey-Clemons said. “I’m in the weight room as we speak. Watching the draft and seeing all those players go ahead of me, they are all great players and I don’t want to take anything from them, but it hurt me. I made up my mind then that nobody was going to outwork me and I was going to give my all to the game. I feel like I could have gone earlier and it was a lot of guys that I played against and seen play, it’s something that is going to motivate me. It will keep me motivated the entire time I am in the league.”
3. He was injured for the combine.
A hamstring injury that prevented him from performing at the NFL Combine contributed to Harvey-Clemons’ fall in the draft.
“The [draft] process was kind of difficult for me because I tore my hamstring right after the season,” Harvey-Clemons said, “so once I started training, it was kind of hard for me to do all the drills and things like that at first because I really wasn’t able to walk. I was doing a lot of rehab at first and it kind of put me behind for the combine and I wasn’t able perform. It’s been a very long process and I had to be real careful with what I do with my hamstring, but it’s been a great experience overall.”
4. He is reunited with familiar faces with the Redskins.
Before playing at Louisville, Harvey-Clemons was a Georgia Bulldog. The Georgia native joins his former inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti and former teammate Keith Marshall in Washington.
“I know Coach Kirk,” Hervey-Clemons explained. “He was at Georgia when I was at Georgia, and so when I saw him at the combine, we talked a lot, but it was more a lot of catching up and things like that because I hadn’t seen him in years. On the draft day, he called me and told me they were thinking about taking me, and that was really the first time I ever really thought about going up there to the Washington area, when he called. We already had a relationship from the Georgia days, and so right then I got excited because Coach Kirk is a great coach.
“I’m really relieved that the process is over and grateful and thankful that I have a team,” he added. “I am really looking forward to get to work and prove myself.”
- He has experience in multiple positions.**
Harvey-Clemons attracted the Redskins because of his versatility.
“Josh is an interesting guy,” Gruden said. “He’s played some safety, but he’s 6-foot-4 and can run. He’s a tough guy, he’s played in the box a little bit. We’re going to try him at dime linebacker, and see and go from there. But, you know, you look around the league and you look at some of these running backs that are getting drafted, you know [Alvin] Kamara and some of these smaller scatbacks that are really good receivers, you better have somebody that can run and cover them and also be able to tackle if they run inside zone or something like that. We feel like he can do that.”
Harvey-Clemons is also confident in his ability to play various roles on the team.
“I am very comfortable in it,” said Harvey-Clemons of the linebacker position. “This past year was the first year I actually played the linebacker in the dime and I fell in love with it in camp. I really love both positions and I am grateful that I am able to play both. I don’t look at it as a bad thing. I like playing closer to the line to make tackles and I also like being further back and reading the quarterbacks eyes. I am really looking forward to it and seeing how I will be used in the Redskins defense.”
In addition to defensive positions, the 6-foot-4 Louisville product has found success on special teams.
“It’s something that most teams talked about when I talked to them – are you willing to play special teams,” he said. “That is something that even my college coaches harped on... For me, doing that in college only helped me, and now I am willing to play anything. Some guys don’t like playing special teams, but I look at it as another way to make a play.”
Successfully producing on the field is a result of Harvey-Clemons’ passion for football, regardless of the position he plays.
“I just love the game overall,” he said. “I mean, I’ve never really had a set position, even coming up through high school or college, I was always moved around. And that’s something that I’ve always liked and I fell in love with it being able to play different positions and different roles in the defense. I really just embrace it and I love doing it. I’ve never looked at myself as just a safety or just a linebacker. I just love playing, going out there and competing.”
- He is one of five Joshes on the team.**
Harvey-Clemons shares a first name with four other Redskins players: cornerback Josh Norman, wide receiver Josh Doctson, safety Josh Evans and safety Joshua Holsey.
With four of the five Joshes in the secondary, Evans explained that defensive backs coach Torrian Gray has had to adjust to the name situation.
“It’s so many Joshes,” Evans said. “It’s funny because when you walk on the field, all you hear is Josh and everybody turns around. But he’s starting to have, I guess, little nicknames and little things he calls people to know which one he’s talking about. But this is the most Joshes I’ve ever seen on one team.”
7. He’s always loved playing football.
Harvey-Clemons has been immersed in the game from a young age.
“I come from Valdosta, Georgia, a football town, and ever since I can remember I’ve been competing in football,” he said. “It’s just a sport that I love and I take it very seriously.”
His fondness for football has fueled his force on every play and has influenced his playing style.
“[I am] somebody who is going to play hard through every snap and who is always going to be around the ball,” he said. “Trying to be in on every tackle and just somebody who is going to compete and be very competitive. I am someone who loves the game.”