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Chris Conley Holds Key To Success for UGA Receiving Corps

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Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley (31) has shown in the past he can make big plays. The Bulldogs will need that from him this season with 12 players gone from last season's strong defense. Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.
Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley (31) has shown in the past he can make big plays. The Bulldogs will need that from him this season with 12 players gone from last season's strong defense. Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.

The Georgia Bulldogs lost two of their top three receivers from last year's team.

The Bulldogs still have a good group returning in Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett. But it will be No. 3 receiver Chris Conley who will make the biggest impact for the Bulldogs.

Conley had 20 receptions for 342 yards and six touchdowns (second on the team) in 2012. Most most Bulldog fans will remember him for the catch at the end of the SEC championship game; a catch that many felt he should have dropped on purpose with the clock running out and no timeouts.

With that past him, Conley knows he's going to step into an even bigger role this year and will be the beneficiary of other teams trying to lock down Mitchell and Bennett.

Just a Little Taste

For those who didn't watch last year's Capital One Bowl, they missed two amazing touchdown catches by Conley.

He totaled 136 yards on those two touchdown catches, with one for 87 yards (a UGA bowl record).

With his performance then and in the spring, quarterback Aaron Murray knows what they're getting in Conley, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He’s definitely that guy. His first two years, he came in and made plays throughout the season. He had a strong end of the year last year, and he’s had a great spring. He’s a big receiver. The thing about Chris you enjoy as a quarterback is he really goes up and gets the ball with his hands. He doesn’t let the ball get into him at all. He’s a lanky kid, strong but long, and he goes up there and snatches the ball.

While most other teams have two guys they can count on to make big plays, Conley has shown he can be that third guy for the Bulldogs.

Why Conley Holds the Key

Bennett and Mitchell have already shown what they can do as full-time starters over the long haul.

Conley hasn't gotten as many starts, but he has shown he can do the job he's supposed to do.

There's also a chance Conley could slip into Bennett's spot until he returns to full health from his ACL injury. While the plan is for Bennett to be ready come Aug. 31, there are no guarantees.

If that's the case, Conley will be that much more important early on as he'll become one of the focuses for other teams.

After losing 12 players who started games on defense last year, the Georgia offense can't expect this year's defense to hold down the fort like it did last year against Florida.

Points are going to have to be put on the board, especially against tough teams like South Carolina and Florida.

While a good running game is important, Georgia will be able to do most of its damage in those games through the air.

And Conley will be a big reason if Georgia comes out on top in either of those games.