He’s teaching 8th grade — and playing football for the Dogs (PLUS: practice update added)

(Updated 8:30 p.m.)

ATHENS — One Georgia football player comes to spring practice directly from his eighth-grade classroom.

Wide receiver Kris Durham is an education major who’s doing his student-teaching this semester at nearby Oconee County Middle School.

Durham

Durham

He will graduate from UGA in May and begin work on his Masters degree this summer, but he has one season of football eligibility remaining because he sat out last season after shoulder surgery. So this spring he is rushing between his Georgia History classroom and football practices.

“He comes in all dressed up, late for the meetings,” freshman receiver Marlon Brown said fondly.

Durham, who is at the middle school from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day, said he tries to compartmentalize his two roles, although he admits his students identified him as a Georgia football player “after about the first 20 minutes.”

“I had to get that out of the way real quick and make sure they saw me as not just a football player, but [saw] that I’m here to help you guys learn,” he said.

One thing Durham has learned in the classroom this semester: “I used to think I was getting away with a lot of stuff, but teachers do see it. You don’t get away with as much as you think you do.”

Durham plans a career as a teacher and coach, but first the 6-foot-5 receiver from Calhoun hopes to end his UGA football career on an upswing.

He caught 32 passes for 450 yards from 2006 through 2008 and was redshirted in 2009, which otherwise would have been his final season, because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder. His return should bolster a wide-receiver group that is thin in terms of quantity.

“So far so good,” Durham said of his comeback. “I’m taking it in strides, trying to work my way back into condition and just getting used to the speed of the game and strength of the game after being out for a year.”

As for the shoulder, Durham said: “It’s fine. . . . I’ve rehabbed it, done everything I was supposed to do. Now I’ve just got to let it go.” He seemed relieved to report that he fell on it at practice last Thursday without incident. Later, speaking of that same practice, coach Mark Richt said: “Durham had a big day catching the ball, made some tough catches.”

Durham’s student-teaching role extends to the team, where younger receivers say they respect his experience and knowledge. Of course, they also take friendly jabs.

“If something happens and he says, ‘Well, I remember when I was a freshman . . .,’ we’re, like, ‘All right, Kris, we already know you’ve been here seven years,” Brown said.

————————————————-

Update  from Thursday’s football practice:

– The team practiced in a light rain at Sanford Stadium, with a large audience of high school coaches watching from the sideline and the field. The coaches are on campus for a two-day clinic.

– In passing/receiving drills, the best catch –- no surprise here – was made by A.J. Green, who soared for a leaping grab of a high Aaron Murray throw.

– There were a few dropped balls, too (including one each that I noticed by Rantavious Wooten and Tavarres King).

– For the second consecutive practice, Georgia had only four healthy scholarship wide receivers — Green, Durham, Wooten and King. The other two, Brown and Israel Troupe, were sidelined with a bruised shoulder and a strained hamstring, respectively.

– Tailback Caleb King, who missed practice with an upset stomach on Tuesday,  was back at work.

56 comments Add your comment

josh

March 25th, 2010
12:57 pm

devildawg

March 25th, 2010
12:58 pm

I always liked Durham, he catches everything thrown his way. Good luck to him!

devildawg

March 25th, 2010
12:58 pm

Don'twastepisson tech

March 25th, 2010
1:05 pm

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 25th, 2010
1:05 pm

how many plays was Marlon brown on the field for last year anybody know ? was it even 10
good news about durham

Bubba

March 25th, 2010
1:06 pm

Good player, good guy. But I’m sure some Tech fan will come on here and talk about what a thug he is.

Paddy

March 25th, 2010
1:13 pm

We can always use another surehanded receiver. Glad he is back for his final season.

Paul's Johnson

March 25th, 2010
1:14 pm

I’m for anybody who wants to educate our youth. And I mean anybody, even the stereotypical slow white guy with “good hands”. Seriously, good for him.

70 Dawg

March 25th, 2010
1:14 pm

Bubba, Don’t worry about those techie comments. Best to let them roll off like yellow water off a yellow football helmet if you catch my drift.

Buzz

March 25th, 2010
1:18 pm

As a college sports fan we need more POSITIVE articles about athletes like this one!!! Sounds like a great “STUDENT athlete”!! Good luck Kris except for one game… HAHA

GTGuy

March 25th, 2010
1:30 pm

Probably a front. I am sure he is a thug and will be arrested soon.

Voice of Reason

March 25th, 2010
1:31 pm

Buzz – for once I agree with you. We surely hear about the ones that get into trouble, and not enough good stories come from the media. Headlines is what they are after, when they don’t realize that stories like this are terrific. We need more teachers, and most of those that are, are very dedicated.
Thanks for the story.

Buzz

March 25th, 2010
1:35 pm

I thought he was “caught” with an 8th grade teacher!!! Not that he was becoming one!!! Usually all articles are of the negative variety!!!! lol

Bremen Dawg

March 25th, 2010
1:42 pm

I hope Durham has his best year. I think you will see this guy coaching a high school team to a championship in the future.

not urban meyer

March 25th, 2010
1:50 pm

Tim, you’re a good guy,man.
You’re a good guy!

If you had written this about my son, we would be going at it with hugs and handshakes.

Really?

March 25th, 2010
1:56 pm

Old Dawg

March 25th, 2010
2:19 pm

Durham’s a class act and will make great teacher and coach. I hope he’s able to help the new QB settle in with his possession catches and leadership.

Guys like Durham are what college athletics are all about!

How2fish

March 25th, 2010
2:23 pm

Good story Tim hope the young man has a great year!

Dawg 3/20

March 25th, 2010
2:23 pm

Put him in the starting lineup against South Carolina and Florida!! Come on he deserves it!!!

knoxdawg

March 25th, 2010
2:30 pm

There are alot of good positive stories like this one but the papers tend to write the negative side of things. Guess it comes down to what sells papers. Great story, great kid. There are alot of these stories out there at all the schools if the reporters will go find them.

Tallcarl

March 25th, 2010
2:31 pm

Welcome back young man and thank you for showing the young ones what it means to be a mentor and a real man. I agree with Buzz seldom but he is correct. We need more of this type of articles and the one about the Auburn transfer to Ga. St. to enjoy. These young high school men need to know that it’s about preparation for life as not all will play after college.

DawgFan24

March 25th, 2010
2:54 pm

He may be a class act, but definitely hasnt lived up to the hype that surrounded his recruitment. Hopefully that will change in this his last year to ’shine.’ To those who said that he catches everything, what planet have you been living on the past four years? The guy that caught everything but flew under the radar was Michael Moore…been saying it all along…

Welcome back..

March 25th, 2010
3:13 pm

I for one am glad Durham is back playing this year. He has great hands and runs his routes like he is supposed to. If he has a big year he could be a 5th or 6th round NFL pick. He is a tough kid and a real contribution to the team. Reminds me alot of Brian Finneran w/ the Falcons. Good luck Kris!

Welcome back..

March 25th, 2010
3:14 pm

DawgFan24…..
What games have YOU been watching? Do agree w/ you about Michael Moore though.

Top Dawg

March 25th, 2010
3:26 pm

DawgFan24, I’ll give you that Michel Moore was a good receiver, but let’s be real here: “Caught everything and flew under the radar”. That’s a bit of a reach isn’t it friend?

Rana Cash

March 25th, 2010
3:31 pm

nice story, Tim. Sounds like a promising young man; those students are lucky.

ugaaccountant

March 25th, 2010
3:34 pm

This is a great article! This is exactly the kind of reporting the AJC must do if they are ever going to become relevant in this state again. There are 100+ kids just on the UGA football team, + thousands of other athletes around the state. A positive story about the quality young men in these programs is far more important than any common minor transgression they may committ.

ugaaccountant

March 25th, 2010
3:37 pm

“knoxdawg
There are alot of good positive stories like this one but the papers tend to write the negative side of things. Guess it comes down to what sells papers.”

The AJC doesn’t sell much anymore. Everything I’ve read has them as one of the biggest declines in the country. Plus they’ve laid off many of their full-time staff and cut out a large portion of their circulation.

RxDawg

March 25th, 2010
3:37 pm

Good story about Kris. It’s good to see this. We and the media tend to look for any student athelete that breaks the law in some sort and pounce on them for it. While in reality, most grow to be fine memebers of society. Congrats Kris and good luck on your senior year. Go Dawgs!

Dawg n' Jacket

March 25th, 2010
3:56 pm

Let me say first I am a Dawg fan but on Friday nights I am a Jacket which is how Kris Durham grew up. Class act all the way and a great person and role model for the kids he is teaching. I am hoping he goes out with a really big season and shows everyone what he can do when he gets the ball in space because he he ain’t slow. Go Dawgs and go Kris Durham!

Fedup

March 25th, 2010
3:57 pm

A football player who isn’t majoring in communications or recreation? Amazing!!

RSX

March 25th, 2010
4:06 pm

Question:
“His return should bolster a thin group of receivers.”

-AJ Green
-Marlon Brown
-Israel Troupe

That in itself is one of the better receiving corps in the nation, let alone the SEC. WR is STACKED here in Athens.

Diamond Jacket

March 25th, 2010
4:11 pm

FYI, Kris’ sister is a GT graduate.

Good luck to him this season.

WHAAAA

March 25th, 2010
4:19 pm

5th or sixth round PICK??????? Come on, be realistic please!

GT12

March 25th, 2010
4:21 pm

Always great to see a SA putting in some work towards a real degree and a real future career instead of coasting along in home ec or something. Great story.

There ARE 8 grades?

March 25th, 2010
4:21 pm

I had no idea there were even 8 grades. Dadgum it.

Billy Lothridge

Poor Tech Fan is confused

March 25th, 2010
4:25 pm

The TechFan is so confused, having been mugged, robbed and pistol whipped so many times walking back to his slum, i mean his house, that he is confused about his surroundings off of Nside Drive. Poor guy.

Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dogs.

reggie ball

March 25th, 2010
4:29 pm

won to twee ah thats all foks

RAMBLE ON!!!

March 25th, 2010
4:40 pm

8 grade?

How many of his team mates are in his class?

esther

March 25th, 2010
5:05 pm

ramble you have no class.it took you two months to come out of hiding after the 30-24 smackdown last nov.NERD!

athdog

March 25th, 2010
5:21 pm

Here in Oconee county we’ve got a superintendent making 160k and a staff of 50 for two high schools, three middle schools and four elementary schools. Teaching’s a good gig if you make it to administration!

midland Dog

March 25th, 2010
5:22 pm

I met Chris Durham once, with my son at a G-day game and I’ll never forget how he took the time to stop and crouch down and speak to him, not just say hi and walk away. In fact, he asked him if he was going to play for UGA one day. I was very impressed with his natural kindness. I know Mark Richt has been happy to have him on the team, because of the kind words Richt said to me at a quarterback club meeting about Chris. This one will do fine in his teaching career.

midland Dog

March 25th, 2010
5:23 pm

Sorry, meant Kris

jackhammer

March 25th, 2010
5:37 pm

Louie,

Get some guts and get back on here.

Tech Fan,

I’m a Tech fan, from as far back as ‘58, but you don’t ‘blanket indict’ an entire program by calling all of ‘em thugs. That’s a some-all falacy and it ain’t intelligent. there some rock solid kids in that program…much as I ‘dist’ ‘em…all in fun.

G

March 25th, 2010
6:00 pm

Hope he catches more than a cold.

esther

March 25th, 2010
6:01 pm

i meant fool speaking to ramble

When will Georgia win a National Title

March 25th, 2010
6:24 pm

MY Georgia “Bama” tag looks sweet…paying extra for the tag, sure will help all those dumb redneck Georgia hicks learn to read and write.

Old Dawg

March 25th, 2010
8:29 pm

When will Georgia win a National Title: Interesting comment. We have difficulty in our area of Tennessee hiring graduates from Alabama high schools because they can’t read, write or use basic math skills. Not that the applicants from Tennessee are any better.

[...] (Today’s spring football report is here.) [...]

Sid

March 25th, 2010
10:58 pm

Tech academics? Two Yech pilots don’t know how to measure altitude !!!