JEFFERSON - It was a relaxed Chris Conley who took time for an interview with UGASports during the final day of last week's state track meet in Jefferson.
No passel of mail to sift through, no more coaches dropping by his school at North Paulding, no more phone calls or texts wondering where he'll be playing his college ball.
For the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder from Dallas, Ga., life is good.
"Everything has calmed down, it's like a burden has been lifted off," Conley said. "I can focus on my school work and my teammates now. It's definitely made high school a lot easier."
It certainly beats the alternative.
Conley said it was very important to him to have his college decision out of the way so it would not become a distraction for his team during the upcoming campaign.
But that hasn't kept Conley from looking ahead, or getting an early start preparing for his Georgia career.
Besides taking part in some of the Bulldogs' upcoming camps, Conley will make sure everything remains in order for him to graduate early, thus enabling him to enroll at Georgia in January.
"That's (enrolling early) definitely going to be very important and it's going to be a great idea to come in and be able to get that jumpstart on my education as well as football," Conley said. "It's something I'm looking forward to. I know it's going to be tough, but I sort of set my senior year aside and tried to decide what's more important and that's what came out on top. I'm looking forward to it."
Conley was looking forward to competing in last Saturday's finals of the Class AAAA 100-, 200- and 400-meter dash, but failed to qualify in either event.
Though disappointed, Conley never thought twice about leaving the event early. Not with future Bulldog teammate Justin Scott-Wesley.
Like the rest of the crowd in attendance, Conley watched in amazement as Scott-Wesley posted a 10.35 in the 100-meter dash, before announcing his commitment to the Bulldogs on the awards stand following the race.
"It was great. After I didn't make it, I talked to him and said 'Hey man, I'm going to be there for you,'" Conley said. "To see him run that time was amazing."
Conley said he and Scott-Wesley have actually been friends for a little while.
"Justin and I met over at a camp and we just kept in touch, exchanging thoughts and ideas about schools. Once I committed I called and said, 'Hey, you've got to come to Georgia.' I called him, called a couple of other guys and bunch of other people, too," Conley said. "But our friendship just grew. We talk about a lot of things other than football. I'm glad we're going to be teammates."
The two are "Dream Team" members to boot.
"It's a great idea. When you really think about it, the kind of players who come out of this state are the highest-caliber players and if we can keep them in the state
," Conley said. "We already have things that connect us because we're from Georgia, so if we can keep them here and keep that team together it's definitely going to be a powerful thing."
Conley's already doing what he can to hopefully convince others to jump on the train.
That list includes Dorman, S.C. Charone Peake, a fellow receiver who's extremely high on the Bulldogs' wish list.
"I try to stay in contact with them. It's not so much recruiting by me, but just be trying to be a friend of these guys," Conley said.
But that doesn't mean he won't work in a convincing word here or there.
"I'll just tell him 'Hey, man, you need to come join this offense," Conley said. "We're going to make it powerful. If you come it will make us better."
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