October 19, 2009

Conley ponders future as GT receiver

The Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game was probably the biggest recruiting weekend for the Jackets this year other than the Georgia game and with only a handful of spots left for 2010 there is a lot of focus on the 2011 class. One of the Jackets' biggest targets is six-foot-three North Paulding wide receiver Chris Conley. Conley is one of the best receivers in the state of Georgia and he really enjoyed his trip to Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday night.

"It was pretty good experience," he said. "We got there early and went on a tour to see all the facilities and everything and the stadium. We got to watch the game and it was a big win. It was very charged and exciting."

Conley is one of the few players in the 2011 class to hold a Georgia Tech offer and he sat down with head coach Paul Johnson before the game Saturday to talk about the program and how he might fit into the system.

"I got to talk to Coach Johnson, Coach Buzz Preston and Coach Brian Bohannon before the game," Conley said. "I got to meet with Coach Johnson for the first time in person. We got to sit down and talk about where Tech football is headed and things like that."

Coach Johnson impressed Conley with information of the school and what direction Coach Johnson intends to take the football program in the next few years.

"He spoke with me about the type of weight a Georgia Tech degree holds, what kind of programs the school has to offer and everything like that. Georgia Tech is a good engineering school and has a good business school. He talked about how the football team is moving and transitioning to becoming a constant contender. He spoke about how the wide receivers fit into their philosophy and how that is going."

The success of current receiver Demaryius Thomas and the way the Jackets use freshman Stephen Hill showed Conley how the Jackets use their receivers.

"The coaches spoke about how when there are only four receivers playing and if they throw 10 to 15 times a game, those throws only go between three people, so the ball will come and maybe not as much as other teams, but the ball will be there with a chance to make a big play. They put their receivers in positions to make plays."

Conley can see himself fitting into the role Thomas plays on the team now as the main target in a few years.

"I think I could be a play-maker receiver in the program. I think I am one of the guys who can make plays downfield and be a guy who can make the possession receiver plays in the short to medium range game. I think I can work into an offense like that if I keep working on my skills," Conley said. "My thought on the Georgia Tech program is that it is headed in the right direction. Coach Johnson is a good coach. He knows what he is talking about and what he is doing. He is very honest and forward with people about things.'

Overall, the crowd and game atmosphere from start to finish awed Conley.

"The game day experience was pretty cool," he said. "We came to see the stadium before the game and watched how they got the stadium ready for the game and then we saw it during the game with the seats filled and everybody on their feet. It was charged and everybody was excited. It was a little cold, but you sort of forgot about it when the game was going on and people were making plays."

"After seeing Tech have this kind of season, with that type of statement win, they will be contender from now on," he said. "It will cause an even better rivalry between Georgia Tech and UGA. I think Georgia Tech will be one of those teams that will be in contention from now on."

With offers from several top schools in his pocket, Conley is weighing the different options each program presents. The Jackets measure very favorably to the other schools especially in the academic arena.

"Comparing Georgia Tech to other schools that have offered there are things that are easy to compare off the bat like academics. They have some good programs and their engineering degree have a lot of weight and they are good in the business world compared to other schools. They rank pretty high in academics. Football wise you are comparing apples to oranges because Tech has that triple option, so there are different things to consider for me in terms of the offensive play. Other teams like to spread the ball around, but Tech's priority is to run the ball and throw deep. Those are different things to compare. Academically it looks really good, but football wise I have to take a deeper look at it."

Conley has other visits planned including a trip to Knoxville at the end of this month.

"I believe on the 31st I am going to see Tennessee for the South Carolina game," Conley said. "They have been recruiting me pretty heavily like other schools. They have been sending a lot of mail, notes from coaches and requests for me to come up there. I am going up there to check things out to see how things are going. You hear a lot of stuff on the news about them and everyone has their own opinions about the program and the coaches, but I want to go up there and meet them myself and see how it works."

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