Chris Conley has shown versatility on, off field

Monday, Aug 5, 2013 5:07 PM
Last updated 10:25 PM
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Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley reeled in six touchdowns last season, good for second on the team, and had 342 yards on 20 catches. However, it's some of the work that he does off the field that draws him attention.  FILE/MORRIS NEWS SERVICE
FILE/MORRIS NEWS SERVICE
Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley reeled in six touchdowns last season, good for second on the team, and had 342 yards on 20 catches. However, it's some of the work that he does off the field that draws him attention.

ATHENS, Ga. — Mark Richt called Chris Conley a workaholic.

Aaron Murray said the junior receiver is reliable.

Conley will tell you he’s not afraid of work.

He’ll tell you he likes to travel and seek out new opportunities to network.

He’ll talk you through the seven rubber bracelets stacked on both wrists, each representing an organization he has or continues to work with.

“This one is for a kid named Gage, who’s fighting cancer in South Georgia,” he said as he pulled back the cuff of his shirt and suit jacket to reveal them.

“This one is actually from my church, talking about be bold in every single part of your life,” he continued, walking his fingers through each one.

“This is an NCAA bracelet.”

“This one’s for StandUp Foundtion, which I have done some work with in Atlanta. It’s an anti-bullying association run and founded by Ben Cohen, the rugby star.”

“The last one is for Camp Sunshine,” he said of the only bracelet made of metal and small, different colored beads.

The 6-foot-3, 206 pounder reeled in six touchdown catches last season, good for second on the team, and had 342 yards on 20 catches.

He’s a journalism major with the hopes of going into broadcast.

He is the Southeastern Conference’s representative on the NCAA Division Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, focusing on simplifying the rule book as well as student-athlete well-being. The gig has Conley on the road three times a year – in July, November and January – and has him on frequent conference calls.

Conley is getting mighty close to checking “Renaissance Man” off his accomplishment list.

“The fact that I can navigate those things and make those connections and be productive in those settings and come here and still play football on this stage and at this level has been fun for me,” he said.

Conley’s father served two decades in the U.S. Air Force and his mother is a school teacher. Conley was born in Turkey and moved around a handful of times – including a seven and a half year stint in California – before his family settled in Dallas, Ga.

Adjusting on the fly comes easy to him.

“There’s not really any kind of guy that I can’t reach or be friends with,” he said.

It’s an attribute that allows him to seamlessly jump from a position meeting with wide receivers coach Tony Ball to an NCAA SAAC meeting to working with kids or doing community outreach.

“At one point, I decided that, hey, if I’m going to do something, I’m going to be good at it,” he said.

And as his list of responsibilities grows, so does his role on the field.

But rather quietly.

At media day, Conley fielded a number of questions about Malcolm Mitchell focusing solely on offense this season, Michael Bennett’s return to the field and Georgia’s freshmen offensive weapons.

In the shuffle of preseason hype, Conley is easy to overlook. He’s OK with that, being a sure-handed No. 3 wide receiver who is also a deep threat.

“Georgia is where I’m meant to be,” he said. “If that’s playing with and behind some people, then that’s what I’m going to do to help this team win. I feel good about it. I feel like I’m ready and prepared for those situations when they need me and they call on me.”

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