For the first time this Fall Camp, redshirt sophomore Ladd McConkey had the opportunity to be interviewed and dump some of his thoughts on how he handled the unexpected contribution last year and how he’s processed the offseason.
Any player with a star ranking coming into college is an elite athlete. Not that McConkey wasn’t, but in his 2020 class, he was the 4th best receiver UGA recruited after names like Marcus Rosemy, Arian Smith, and Jermain Burton. And even though he was the lowest ranked, he’s contributed almost just as much as the greatest of those three names as mentioned above: Jermaine Burton. McConkey had 447 receiving yards to Burton’s 497.
McConkey, who redshirted his freshman year, was asked how he could transition so quickly to gameplay after not playing for a year. He praised the process and gave credit to practice responding, “I really think that kind of came in practice, and then it kind of translated over to the game because, I mean, playing against that defense last year we had…”
As a redshirt player and someone who didn’t expect to see the touches or role that is now expected of him, McConkey had some advice for other players going through what he did in the beginning and not getting much time to see the field. He said, “Just stay locked in and buy into your role. And when your time comes, just make the best of it.”
The northeast Georgia native has earned himself a role in this offense, and it extends past the lengths of the field. Coach Smart expects McConkey, alongside other experienced receivers, to help prepare the next round of Georgia greats. McConkey said he wanted to be “someone that the younger guys can lean on and kind of look up to and ask for some advice.”
Now that he’s had a season’s worth of play and the whole summer to prepare for his expected role, McConkey says, “…we’re definitely confident.” He and the Georgia wideouts supposedly “have a lot of guys that can make explosive plays.” Gameday is only a few sleeps away. In just a day or two, we’ll be able to see this explosiveness for ourselves.