North Paulding – Dallas, GA
In April of 2010, Chris Conley and his family huddled together and calmly weighed the pros and cons of each school that extended a scholarship offer. Chris came to his decision—Georgia—and his family agreed. A letter was typed up and sent to all schools in the running, thanking each coach for the consideration. And that was that. Conley is low key and respectful off the field, but his play commands attention. He enrolled early with the hopes of getting on the field as soon as possible. With the departure of A.J. Green and Kris Durham from the receiver corps, Conley may get his wish.
HONORS: PrepStar All-Southeast Region team… Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11, #11 player in Georgia and Class AAAA All-State first-team offense… Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAA All-State first-team offense... Scout.com four-star recruit, #220 player, #34 wide receiver in the country and #18 player in Georgia… ESPN.com four-star recruit, #25 wide receiver
STATS: As a senior, Conley caught 61 passes for 1,021 yards and 15 touchdowns. He added six kickoff returns for 150 yards and two punt returns for ten yards. Conley also totaled 45 tackles as a safety. As a junior, he caught all 81 passes for 848 yards and six touchdowns.
CHAD SIMMONS ON CONLEY: “Conley was just an average receiver with strong academics and good hands a couple of years ago, but he is now clearly the top receiver in Georgia. The biggest improvement Conley has shown in recent months is his explosiveness. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds in January of 2010 and he consistently ran below 4.5 seconds since. He is a big target at receiver pushing 6-feet 3-inches in height and a solid 185 pounds with room to add another 20-25 pounds. He has very strong hands, he runs precise routes, and he has shown the ability to catch passes in traffic as well. He can still improve his separation from defensive backs and his wiggle in the open field, but he is going to be an X or Z receiver on the next level playing on the outside and stretching the field. Expect Conley to become a quarterback favorite down the road because of his consistency – the quarterbacks will know where he is at all times, he will run the route very well and they will trust him to catch it if it is within reach.”
AN OPPOSING COACH SAYS: “Chris was their entire football team. From everything I know about Chris, Georgia is getting a very high character kid. He was very humble. I got to know him a little bit. We were at a camp with them, and every time he caught a football – it didn’t matter if it was in a route or in 7-on-7 or in a team situation – after the play was over he continued, he always made sure he was going to touch that end zone every time he touched the ball, and he was going to sprint back. He wasn’t trying to show off. He’s just a hard worker. He’s a big powerful kid, very dangerous north and south. When we played them, we tried to eliminate him being north and south. We felt like he was a little bit weaker going side to side. We tried to keep him in front of us because if he gets a vertical lane on you, he’s gone.”
LEGGE’S FINAL WORD: Chris Conley was a bit of a late bloomer. He’s smart, has developed speeded and is getting bigger already. Conley isn’t at Georgia by mistake – he set out to make himself a receiver schools could not ignore. He accomplished that by working at it. Conley has very good straight-line speed, so that’s a positive for him. He does need to get better in non-straight-line situations, but that could come with time. Conley will go from being the only player on his team to the fourth- or fifth-best option at Georgia (for the time being) – that could be a difficult transition for him. But he will play in 2011, and his development in high school seems to indicate that he could be a solid contributor along the way in Athens.