Ladd McConkey Shares About His Recruitment and Relationship with Georgia
Ladd McConkey can flat out play ball. The North Murray High School star player did just about everything for the Mountaineers during his high school career. McConkey played receiver, quarterback, defensive back, and was a weapon in the return game. He showed big-time playmaking ability in all of those roles and the impressive performance has drawn the attention of Power 5 programs late in the 2020 3-Star Athlete's recruitment.
Kirby Smart and the University of Georgia offered the Northwest Georgia native on Monday and since, his recruitment has picked up even more momentum. Bulldog Maven on SI.com was fortunate to catch up with McConkey and gain insight as to what the past week has been like for him and his family in the wide-ranging interview below.
Q: Ladd, it's been a fast-paced and unbelievable last few days. What has the past week been like for you?
"It's been awesome! It's definitely been a blessing, it's overwhelming it really is, it really is just amazing."
Q: Georgia Wide Receiver Coach Cortez Hankton was at your game on Friday. Did you know he would be attending and did you get to talk to him before or after?
"Yes sir, they let me know about four or five days ahead of time that Coach Hankton would be coming. He messaged me after, but I wasn't able to talk to him there at the game. They also let me know that Coach Smart and Hartley would be coming up on Monday and they came to the game and then came to my house and we talked a little bit."
Q: How was it playing in the basketball game, knowing those guys would be there to watch you?
"It was definitely different, yes. Coach Smart came down on the court while we were warming up and was right there next to us, so it was unbelievable, but just I had to try to focus, focus on the game plan to block everything out"
Q: Talk to us about the in-home visit with Coach Smart and Coach Hartley. What was it like getting to talk to and getting to know them during that time?
"It was awesome, both of them are really good guys. They seemed just like any other coach or person, no different than anybody else. We were able to have a good, normal conversation and it was awesome. He (Coach Smart) was sitting there explaining everything to me, saying how he wanted guys with high character that he wouldn't have to worry about skipping class or making bad decisions, good athletes that he could rely on and that's what he saw me as. It was definitely an awesome experience."
Q: Did the official offer come during the in-home visit and what did that mean to you and your family?
"Yes, the offer came while they were there. You know, my brother had already gone through the recruiting process and he actually committed to Presbyterian College early on his first official visit there and he ended up transferring. He just told me throughout this process to just be patient, be patient. It's coming! I promise you, just let it all play out and if it is meant to be it will happen. So that is what I did and I was going to take all my official visits to the schools that were recruiting me and then these opportunities came up. It was definitely just great for me and my family!"
Q: You get offered from Georgia with Coach Hartley there. I know you've played both sides of the ball and many positions. With Hartley being on the offensive staff, would it be fair to assume they're recruiting you to play offense? And what position?
"Yes sir, offense and they're recruiting me to play slot receiver."
Q: What position do you ideally want to play in college?
"Slot, that's where I really see myself having the most success in college, so yes sir. Definitely slot!"
Q: Did Coach Smart and Coach Hartley discuss with you the direction of the offense under new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken?
"Yeah, they kind of talk to me about his past and where he's been at, and how he has had great success throwing the ball and throwing it a lot. So yes, we talked a lot about him and then they just hired Buster Faulkner as well. He has had a lot of success at his previous schools as well, being able to spread it out and throw it around and letting guys so make plays in space."
Q: So there definitely seems to be a push and a desire to opening up the offense at Georgia?
"Oh yes sir, yes sir. Definitely there is."
Q: What, on the field, did they express to you that they like about your game?
"They really like how I can play a bunch of different positions and how I could end up being a big part of their return game too. Just that I'm very dynamic."
Q: Is there anything that they identified or expressed they'd like to work with you on, or something particular they'd like to help you improve in?
"One thing I need to really do is get bigger physically. One thing they talked about was the nutrition plan right away when I come in and really get that weight on me and get me prepared to play at that level."
Q: Immediately after the Georgia offer came a Vanderbilt offer. What was it like to get that and how is that relationship developing so far?
"It really came on fast. I posted the offer from Georgia and they messaged me that night and then I got on the phone with their receiver coach the next day. They really like my film and they would really like to get me on campus, they think I'd really like it. I've been talking on the phone the past couple of days with their head coach and their OC. So really just starting to try and build those relationships"
Q: You've grown up a Tennessee fan. Jeremy Pruitt and Jim Chaney have started recruiting you as well. You're going on a visit up there soon correct?
"Yes sir. Coach Chaney came to my school on Tuesday morning and they want me to come up there for a visit on Sunday."
Q: With everything that has gone on. Is an offer from the Volunteers something that you're waiting on before you even consider committing to anyone?
"Obviously, growing up with them being my favorite team, it would be something special to receive an offer from them, but if I get up there and I feel like I would have a better relationship with the players and coaches at the University of Georgia then that is where I would end up. Even though they are, they were my favorite team, growing up, wherever I feel that I would have the best fit and opportunity and be the most successful is where I'll end up. Wherever I feel that I can spend the next four or five years."
Q: How much communication had you had with Power 5 programs before Coach Hankton's appearance at your game last Friday?
"I have been talking to Coach Hankton, Coach Hartely, and Coach Coley for a couple of weeks now. I also talked to Clemson a good bit earlier in the year, but that was really the extent of it in terms of Power 5 schools. Several had come in and shown a little interest here and there, but nothing major until Georgia pulled the trigger."
Q: Kelee Ringo, the 5-Star corner and Georgia signee was talking up your route running on Twitter recently. What was that like having one the best corners in the country complimenting your film and your abilities?
"It was definitely a huge compliment. I mean the type of player he is, if he is recognizing the way that I play, well that's special coming from him. He's a heck of a player, 5-Star recruit, so that was big his complimenting my route running and how I play."
Q: Is an official visit to Georgia in the works right now?
"I'm going to be taking a visit to Georgia on the 31st, the last weekend of the month."
Q: Is there a particular major you'd like to pursue in college or any certain academic interests?
"I'm still kind of undecided when it comes to that. I'm kind of leaning toward finance, but academics is a big thing to me. I'm actually going to graduate high school with my associate's degree (through dual enrollment at Dalton State). So academics are definitely a huge part as well as football."
Q: What are the factors that are going to play into your final decision and will you possibly commit before National Signing Day or wait to make an announcement until then?
"Whenever I feel like I'm sure and I know that I've found a place that I feel like I'm going to succeed at for the next four to five years, the place that is going to be the best fit for me, then I'll go ahead and commit. If that happens before signing day then that is what I'll do, but it could go all the way to signing day as well."