Georgia Football: Why Chris Conley Will Have a Breakout Year in 2013

Brian JonesContributor IApril 2, 2013

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 10:  Flanker Chris Conley #31 of the Georgia Bulldogs  reacts after scoring a touchdown while playing against the Auburn Tigers on November 10, 2012 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Georgia leads Auburn 28-0 at halftime.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images

The offense for the Georgia Bulldogs has a chance to not only be the best offense in the SEC, but also have a chance to be the No. 1 offense in the nation in 2013.

With the passing attack led by Aaron Murray, the running attack led by the duo of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley with Malcolm Mitchell on the outside as a deep threat, it will be difficult for any opposing defense to slow down the Bulldogs.

But there is one player that opposing teams will have to watch out for this season that has been a player on the rise since the halfway point of 2012. Wide receiver Chris Conley is a player that has been getting better each season and 2013 will be the year that everyone in the SEC will know who he is.

Conley hails from Dallas, Georgia and made his way onto the scene back in 2011 as a true freshman. Conley did not start, but played in 11 games and caught 16 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He was awarded as one of the team’s newcomer of the year awards for his efforts.

Last season, Conley played in all 14 games but started in three of those games as he replaced the injured Michael Bennett. In Conley’s first start which was against Auburn, he notched four catches for 32 yards and scored once.

But it was the Capital One Bowl in which the country started to take notice of the rising junior receiver. Conley had a team high 136 yards on two catches and two touchdowns. His 87-yard touchdown catch was the longest in UGA bowl history.

Conley’s production has carried over into spring ball as he had six catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in the scrimmage on Saturday and a total of nine catches for 171 yards and two scores in two simulated games, which makes him the leading receiver this spring.

Head coach Mark Richt has liked the way Conley has worked and has become a great leader for the ball club. Murray has said Conley is a big guy that can go up and get the ball, which is something he has done the last two seasons.

Standing at 6’5’’ and 205 pounds Conley has the size to go up and get the ball with his hands. But with his 87-yard touchdown catch in the Capital One Bowl, Conley has the speed to score anywhere on the field also.

Based on game experience and production, Conley and Mitchell will be the two leading receivers going into summer practices. And Conley will likely start at receiver alongside Mitchell until Bennett returns from his injury.

But even if Bennett returns, Conley will see a lot of time on the field and make even more plays because Conley, Mitchell and Bennett make up one of the better receiver trios in the country.

And if the Bulldogs become the best offense in the SEC and do win the SEC title, Conley will be a big reason why they were able to reach that goal.