VALDOSTA, Ga. -- Hiram Johnson has seen his share of big-time football players in the 39 years he has been an assistant coach at Lowndes County High School, and Josh Harvey-Clemons could be the best of the bunch.
"Josh is right up there amongst them and could be the best if he keeps working hard and he keeps his head on straight," Johnson said. "He will be one we will talk about for years. Randall Godfrey played here and so did Jay Ratliff, who's with the Cowboys. There are two or three others like him. No question Josh could be the best."
Harvey-Clemons, 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, is the top rated prospect from the state of Georgia and his value to the Vikings is unmatched. On Friday, he started at quarterback before moving to wing-back and receiver. Plus, he played safety and some linebacker on defense. There really aren't many positions he can't play.
"We are blessed to have him," Lowndes County coach Randy McPhearson said. "He has great range, size and speed. He's a tall kid who's real physical and athletic. More importantly, he's a great kid with great character and a good student."
At this point, the No. 23 overall player in the country has set up official visits with Florida, Georgia, LSU and Louisville and would like to visit a fifth school. He is nowhere near making a decision, but his plan is to commit at the U.S. Army All-America Game in early January.
"I am wide open right now," Harvey-Clemons said. "I am talking with everybody and keeping it open until after the season. Right now I am focused on getting a ring."
While projecting which school the four-star recruit will play for in the future is difficult, figuring out what position he lines up at could be even tougher.
Many think outside linebacker will be his next position once he gets to college next year and that's where Harvey-Clemons would like to play, but he's a team guy and will play anywhere to help his team win.
"I hope to play outside linebacker. I can run the field. I can play sideline to sideline. I can scrape off blockers and make tackles. I can just make plays for the defense," Harvey-Clemons said. "I will play wherever my team needs me and it's safety right now. Most teams are recruiting me on defense and it's safety and linebacker. Alabama is one of the only schools that wants me as a receiver."
"I think it all depends on how his body fills out," McPhearson said. "Right now he would have to play back there in space or at wide receiver. But I could also see him put on 30-40 pounds. Then he may have his hand on the ground. It doesn't matter because he's that talented to play those positions on either side of the ball. I just think it all depends on his body. Remember, he's just a puppy."
Harvey-Clemons has a lot of room to add to his long frame, but he's already 10 pounds heavier than he was at this time last fall.
"I can put on the weight," Harvey-Clemons said. "I know the coaches think I can put on 30 pounds easy. I was 195 last year. I am trying to put it on slowly and trying to get ready for the next level because I want to play as soon as I get to where I am going. I am looking at schemes on defense and what scheme I can fit into."
McPhearson agrees that his star player won't have trouble putting on muscle weight. But there could be a fight between the offensive and defensive coaches at the school he selects.
"He's always been a lanky kid but he's starting to put muscle on right now," McPhearson said. "And he will have great ball skills. I think he's gonna be a space player on defense or a wide receiver. He's worked hard every year and he's such a great kid. He has zero character flaws; zero."
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.