Editor's note: Follow the Daily Citizen-News sports department for recruiting features on local high school football players each Friday this summer. Rising seniors with the potential to play at the next level will answer questions leading up to football season this fall.
Preparing to begin his senior football season at North Murray High School, Ladd McConkey has a lot to deal with.
McConkey will transition from wide receiver to starting quarterback for the Mountaineers this fall, and beyond the change of positions he is also beginning to receive attention from college recruiters. Learning to juggle his summer schedule is one of the challenges McConkey said he's dealing with.
As he begins the journey of navigating which college option will best suit him, McConkey said he's in no rush to make a decision.
Daily Citizen-News: What offers have you already received?
McConkey: William & Mary, Mercer, Richmond, UTC (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), Kent State and Georgia Southern. Those are the offers I have. I've also been talking with Harvard a lot, along with Bucknell, UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Louisville, Western Kentucky, Georgia State, the Citadel and Army.
DCN: What was the first offer you received? How did that happen and how do the schools reach out to you generally?
McConkey: William & Mary (a Division I school in the Football Championship Subdivision located in Williamsburg, Virginia) was my first offer. They offered me earlier this spring after my first track meet where I ran a 10.85 (seconds) 100-yard dash. Schools normally reach out through Twitter and also through direct text messages. I'll talk to all the schools that contact me, whenever I have free time, because I'm trying to keep everything open.
DCN: Do you have a school that hasn't offered you yet, who you would like to offer or a dream school?
McConkey: Tennessee. They reached out to me recently and I'm actually going to their camp this Saturday. I've always grown up watching Tennessee, and my whole family watches them. I've been to games there, and it's awesome, but Saturday will be the first time I've ever been out on the field.
DCN: Are you going to any, or have you already gone to any, showcase camps or events? How did that go for you, and what usually happens at those type of events?
McConkey: I went to The Opening (an elite high school football camp offered regionally and nationally) on May 19 in Nashville. I've also been to the Mercer Elite Camp, the Adidas Camp at Georgia Tech, and I'll be going to Tennessee this weekend. After that, I'm not 100% sure. At camps like that we'll usually run a 40 (-yard dash), get measured in our vertical and broad jump. Then you do some position-specific stations and drills like working on your footwork or coming in and out of breaks. At the end we'll usually end with 1-on-1 drills. Most schools are looking at me to play slot receiver but a few are looking at me as a defensive back, too.
DCN: What's this whole process been like for you?
McConkey: It's awesome. I've been talking to coaches every day. It's really fun because I feel like everything I've been working for is finally starting to happen. To have the opportunity to get school paid for and play football at the same time is an amazing opportunity.
DCN: How will you make your final decision? Do you want to have it decided by a certain date?
McConkey: Right now the only school I've visited is UTC. I think once I get a chance to visit some other schools and see where I feel most at home, that's when I'll have a better idea. Wherever I feel most at home and where I know I can get a good education, that's where I'll end up.
My older brother (Hinton) played college football (West Georgia), and we talk about it every day. He told me to make sure I like the people I'm going to be around and to take my time. We've got a big senior class at North Murray and right now we're all in the same boat of trying to get those college offers. We talk about it a lot, too, and honestly I probably won't make my decision until I have to.
DCN: Do you have any goals for this summer or for your senior season?
McConkey: I just want to be the best leader I can be. Transitioning to quarterback, I'll be responsible for calling the plays and knowing where everyone is supposed to be. I'm the point guard on the basketball team, too, and I feel like point guard is like being the quarterback. I just want to make sure I'm leading the team, and if something does go wrong, make sure I'm the one who keeps everything under control because everyone looks to the quarterback in those situations.