WR Christian Conley takes a different route on commitment

North Paulding's Christian Conley poses for a picture after committing to the University of Georgia last Friday. (Special photo)

North Paulding's Christian Conley poses for a picture after committing to the University of Georgia last Friday. (Special photo)

It’s a fieldhouse not unlike any other fieldhouse, the one at North Paulding High. It’s basically just a big wide room with lockers around the edges and double-doors leading out to the football field.

Last Friday, this was Christian Conley’s auditorium. This was his stage. Only there were no lights or TV cameras or microphones present. Just 50 or 60 familiar faces in a room smiling toward him.

In the age of the 24-7 news cycle and the choose-one-of-three-hats commitment shtick, Conley went in another direction. He chose to go intimate and private with his college announcement.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound wide receiver committed to the University of Georgia on Friday in a short, unpublicized “non-ceremony.” The only people present were Conley’s immediate family, his coaches, his preacher, his principal, some of his teachers and members of the North Paulding football team who were unexpectedly summoned out of their classrooms that morning.

“Pretty much the students in the high school had no idea what was going on,” Conley recounted this week.

The only press release that was sent out was the one that went out afterward saying that Conley was now a Bulldog with a brief statement as to why. That and a note saying no interviews would be granted until after the weekend so he could rejoice in peace with his family.

“It was a decision I made and my coaches and my family,” Conley said of going low-key. “We sat down about a week and a half before and we talked about it and came up with what we thought would be the best way to do it. We decided on an intimate setting with just my family, my coaches and my teammates, because they are the people that helped me get to this point. I felt like they should be the first people to know and that I should celebrate with them first.”

Even Georgia coach Mark Richt was left out until the last minute. Conley called him Friday morning shortly before going public with the news.

“I said, ‘do you want me to be a Bulldog?,’” Conley recounted. “And he said, ‘well, yeah.’ And I said, ‘well, I wanted to let you know I’m going to accept your scholarship offer to the University of Georgia.’ He was real happy.”

As he should be. For not only are the Bulldogs obviously getting a young man of uncharacteristic humility and thoughtfulness, they’re also getting a pretty good football player at a position of great need.

Conley caught 81 passes for 848 yards and six touchdowns for as a junior at North Paulding, a three-year-old school in Dallas with an upstart program that will have seniors for the first time next season. But it has been in the combines and camps after last season that Conley has really impressed. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and was named MVP at a Scout combine in January. He is also an “A” student who will be an early enrollee in college.

All of which is why Alabama, Clemson, Georgia Tech and a dozen other schools came hard after Conley. They needn’t bother now that he has made his decision.

“All the mail that comes in now either to my house or the school that’s not from UGA is thrown away,” Conley said. “If it’s a questionnaire or something like that it goes to my coach so he can give it to another player so he can get recruited. I’m sticking with UGA.”

Loyalty clearly runs deep with Conley. I asked him if he was glad to have this decision behind him so he could concentrate on getting ready for college.

“I’m not focusing on getting ready for college,”Conley. “I’m focusing on becoming the best player I can for North Paulding High School. If I do that everything else will take care of its self.”

Yeah, this one is different.

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164 comments Add your comment

Freddy

April 21st, 2010
6:11 am

Bulldog59

April 21st, 2010
6:21 am

Wow, a kid that just wants to be a student-ahtlete, no bling, no fanfare, just here I am! If we land more like him (i.e. Christian Lemay) UGA will be back on top in a hurry.

Bamafan

April 21st, 2010
6:24 am

Different way to let your friends and family know where you are going to college. Bama sure could have used him but good luck in Athens Chris!!

Stanfield

April 21st, 2010
6:35 am

Impressive young man. We need more of this type! BTW Christian, Welcome to the Bulldawg Nation!!!!!

longdog

April 21st, 2010
6:37 am

Proud to have a young man of your caliber. Some players are all about themselves but you are not . you will be a leader when one is needed bless you and have a great career I will be watching for you my brother

JB

April 21st, 2010
7:02 am

thanks Bamafan………classy

BigSexy

April 21st, 2010
7:31 am

How long before the arrest? I give him less than 6 weeks on campus.

Vick=Dog killing thug

April 21st, 2010
7:35 am

You got to like this young man!

Bubba

April 21st, 2010
7:43 am

So proud to welcome this young man to UGA. Work had and get a great education, Mr. Conley.

JD

April 21st, 2010
7:49 am

This is why Mark Richt is still the best fit for UGA.

82Dawg

April 21st, 2010
7:50 am

More kids need to be like him.

dawgerbrown

April 21st, 2010
7:51 am

Hey BigSexy, you’re a bitter, little person. Thanks for the show of class Bamafan. We’re proud to have you as a DAWG Christian.

82Dawg

April 21st, 2010
7:51 am

BigSexy …why do you and your fellow idiots have to come on here and start saying crap like that?

BigSexy=TURD

April 21st, 2010
7:52 am

Enter your comments here

Denver Dog

April 21st, 2010
7:54 am

Got your word

#1 BAMA FAN

April 21st, 2010
8:00 am

He would have made a great TIDE player. The DAWGS should be delighted to have such a great athlete and even better person. He is a good student and Christian. RTR

BAMA STAN

April 21st, 2010
8:05 am

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

What? NO three hat drama???? Kid sounds like a class act – must have outstanding parents and a great support family around him. Every program wants kids like this. Wish him the best.

mike on lake hartwell

April 21st, 2010
8:10 am

already my favorite bulldog.

BigDawg

April 21st, 2010
8:14 am

Shoot even I, as a Dawg fan, am surprised at the level of coverage our recruits get over those of our other state schools. A whole page devoted to nothing but one recruit!!! Thanks for supporting our Dawgs so well AJC!!! Keep up the terrific work and we may even start affiliating you with our Bulldog Club.

dowgever

April 21st, 2010
8:17 am

good decision young man

Jeff

April 21st, 2010
8:22 am

I see the anti-Georgia, anti-Richt critic is out again. Oh well. Nobody cares. And we all know it’s that same guy, under all his fake names.

We are so impressed with Christian and I have no doubts he will stand by his commitment, seems character is important to this young man. Of course his talent speaks for itself, but his character is what stands out about Christian Conley. Like what he said about focusing on getting better. That’s the key is staying hungry. So few who have been so blessed stay hungry, they start to feel like they’ve already done it.

Mike Jay

April 21st, 2010
8:29 am

Good news. Great kid it seems. Now we just need to get Lemay on board so the annoucers can ” Christian to Christian for the touchdown!” won’t that be sweet.

yeah c'mone

April 21st, 2010
8:32 am

Proud to have you aboard Christian. And, I would like to thank the class the Bama fans are displaying. We usually don’t see a lot of it around here. Go Dawgs!

GT92

April 21st, 2010
8:33 am

Sounds like UGA got a great pickup. Christian is a true student athelete with class. I would have loved to see him become the next Calvin Johnson or Demaryius Thomas at GT, but understand his choice. I wish him luck in every game (except the game after Thanksgiving, of course).

BG

April 21st, 2010
8:35 am

Welcome Chris. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!

Dap

April 21st, 2010
8:35 am

It is going to be fun to watch this young man. What a great attitude to go along with incredible talent.

bornloser

April 21st, 2010
8:37 am

he is a loser! loser boys and girls

Goldtimer

April 21st, 2010
8:37 am

Another good article on a great kid. Pats on the back for a job well done to his parents, coaches, and preacher. Best of luck except for the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Go Jackets!

April 21st, 2010
8:47 am

He will be another georgia bust just like the football team always is……((((((26-5)))))

Go Jackets!

April 21st, 2010
8:48 am

((((((6-5)))))…hahahahahaha puppies

Go Jackets!

April 21st, 2010
8:49 am

Hnestly puppie fans, does it get old getting let down every year by a team that is known around college football as the chokers?

Go Jackets!

April 21st, 2010
8:49 am

AlabamaRamblinwreck

April 21st, 2010
8:50 am

Sounds like a wonderful, thoughtful, and faithful young man. Me believes the dawgs got a great ambassador for their program, and a really good receiver for the team.

bornloser

April 21st, 2010
8:52 am

Morrus

April 21st, 2010
8:53 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

H-DAWG

April 21st, 2010
8:53 am

This guy sounds like what every college team wants. GO DAWGS!

RxDawg

April 21st, 2010
8:56 am

dawgdawgdawg

April 21st, 2010
8:57 am

Go Jackass, I mean Go Jackets:

you should take a lesson from the Bama and other GT fans that have posted so far and attempt to show a little class. It would be great if we could actually discuss prospects and recruiting, regardless of what school the player is attending, without having morons like yourself coming on to post baseball scores. Grow up.

Paddy

April 21st, 2010
8:58 am

bornloser….and least you have the right name. BigSexy…….doubt you are either, and a uneducated fool. Glad to have you Christian. You sound like a great kid with a big future!

jarvis

April 21st, 2010
9:00 am

I can’t believe Tech missed out on a WR. He could have been sealing the corner for years. I just don’t understand kids these days.

Freddy

April 21st, 2010
9:01 am

Sounds like a real classy kid. Good luck and welcome to the bulldawg nation.

Louie

April 21st, 2010
9:02 am

Well, where do I start.

jackhammer, you out there??

SavDAWG

April 21st, 2010
9:05 am

Da Rick who ????????

dawgster

April 21st, 2010
9:05 am

Go Jackets or whatever you call yourself, there may be a time on these blogs to polk fun at the other programs, but clearly this article about a fine young man is not the time, its very easy in todays world to be all about me, and the class of this young man seems to be outstanding, any program should be honored to have him represent their university…So GoJackets, put it aside and grow up…Thanks to all the other classy fans…

collegeballfan

April 21st, 2010
9:06 am

Sounds like a keeper to me. Good job UGA.

UGAFAN

April 21st, 2010
9:08 am

If more UGA fans acted like this young man and less like the QB that CMR released we would have more fans and less detractors….

Albanydog

April 21st, 2010
9:09 am

LOOKING TO 2010...

April 21st, 2010
9:13 am

BigSexy/bornloser, find another Blog to spin your negative perspective on. This is a good kid and reflects well on the state and the university. Good luck Chris, and welcome to the Bulldog Nation.

Mex

April 21st, 2010
9:15 am

Yet another tremendous student and superb athlete opting to play between hedges. How sad Yech fans are desperately trying to prop up their thugs that can’t even speak proper English, in the same light as this intelligent and fine young man. Dawgs win yet another battle.

DScottGT91

April 21st, 2010
9:16 am

This young man sounds like the kind of person we would have loved to have on the Flats. What a novel idea – celebrating your decision with the people who mean the most to you rather than creating a media circus so you can shine a spotlight on yourself.

I join with other REAL Tech alums in wishing this young man the best…. except the Saturday after Thanksgiving.