Chris Conley saw a surprising amount of playing time last year during his true freshman season.
Whether it was more down to injuries at the position or his own physical skills is irrelevant: he made an impact
The 6'3", 203 lbs wideout had 288 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a limited role.
After A.J Green's departure, Georgia is still looking for some offensive playmakers and Conley could be a player to fill that role.
Here is my interview with the promising wide receiver:
Colan Lamont: Were you surprised to see yourself get so much playing time last year?
Chris Conley: I think that it was a pleasant surprise but I really don’t feel like I was shocked at it. I feel like I had been preparing myself for that since I got on campus and I felt ready when the time came.
CL: Did you ever think you may have to redshirt your freshman year because of the competition for places?
CC: Yes I knew that due to the numbers, redshirting was a possibility and I thought the chances grew when I didn’t play in the third game. But I kept working and fighting for a spot and I was blessed to get one.
CL: Now that you can look back on your first season, what was the most difficult adjustment on and off the field after high school?
CC: The biggest adjustment would probably have to be the amount of time you actually spend doing football. In high school, it’s a hobby or pastime. In college, it’s more of a job.
CL: Do you think that enrolling early helped your performance in any way?
CC: I believe graduating early made the transition to playing actual competition easier. I had a longer time to adjust to the speed of college and of the Southeastern Conference. So I feel it was a major boost to my game.
CL: What have you been working on the most during the offseason?
CC: I’ve been spending much my time getting healthy this offseason. I sustained two injuries at the end of last season and I’ve had to spend a lot of time rehabbing. So getting healthy is the main goal.
CL: How disappointed were you to miss out on the spring game?
CC: I always look forward to the times that I can compete and showcase improvements to my game. So missing the opportunity was painful but it was for the better.
CL: Do you think your wrist will be 100% come September?
CC: Yes. My wrist is better now, all I have to do is keep rehabbing my foot, which was also fractured.
CL: How much has your understanding with Aaron Murray developed since last year?
CC: I feel like Aaron and I have built a good relationship. He is a great QB who likes to guide the younger guys and make sure everyone is on the same page. I feel like last season I earned his trust but I'll have to remind him of that with my play going into camp because I missed the spring. But I feel like things are growing.
CL: Are you happy with your impact last season?
CC: Yes. I am happy to know that I’m capable of playing in the SEC and with this competition. I feel like I took steps forward. I am never satisfied and am working to get better.
CL: Which game do you think was your best?
CC: I’d have to say Florida or New Mexico. Both were big games and I feel like they were big learning opportunities for me.
CL: Which other Georgia players have most helped you get used to the college game?
CC: Tavares (King) has been such a help to me. He immediately took me under his wing to help me and coach me up. The guy has been sort of like my big brother in the college game. But he and the other guys have really taken me in and helped me elevate my game.
CL: Have you been impressed by any of the incoming 2012 recruits, do you think any players will have a big freshman year?
CC: I’m impressed with all of them. They are a good group and they seem to have their heads on straight. I roomed with RB Keith Marshall and QB Faton Bauta and they both are good kids who are dedicated to the game. I expect big things from them.
CL: What do you consider to be your biggest strength?
CC: I feel like my faith is my biggest strength because when I fail or football ends, I know that who I am in Christ is bigger than who I am in football.
CL: Which route is your favorite to run?
CC: I love the out route. It’s a quick route on timing that can be a huge catch for the first down or score.
CL: Any pre-game rituals?
CC: I always spend time clearing my mind and praying. I’ve done that since high school and I do it now. Hopefully I will continue that when I finish playing here. It’s my way of dedicating my game to my Lord.
CL: Which NFL player do you most admire?
CC: I’m an A.J. Green fan. Even though I know the guy, I watched him while I was in high school and wanted to imitate his game.
CL: Have you set yourself any personal goals for the upcoming season?
CC: To be a player other teams have to account for. I’d like to give some defensive coordinators headaches and I’d like to make plays to help Georgia win.
CL: What are your expectations for the team?
CC: I expect us to focus on us and to play like a unit. I feel like the possibilities are endless for this team we just need to capitalize on this opportunity. That being said… I’d like to take a business trip to Miami (for the National Championship).
Thanks to Chris Conley for his great responses and to Leland Barrow and Claude Felton for setting the interview up.
Colan Lamont is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.