Ladd McConkey celebrated at North Murray High School

Coaches, staff say former Mountaineer is building legacy both on and off gridiron

CHATSWORTH, Georgia (WDEF) — Two seasons, two trophies, two rings for former North Murray Mountaineer Ladd McConkey.

There are numerous folks at North Murray who say the young receiver is leading by example both on and off the field.

There is no doubt among those at the school that McConkey’s legacy is far from over but has already impacted his high school.

Former coaches say they saw this coming, while school staff says the former Mountaineer has no ceiling.

Hidden behind the Cohutta Mountains and in a school with roughly 1,000 students was where you could once find Ladd McConkey playing football.

Now, things are different.

But while the scope of his game has changed, those who know him say he hasn’t.

“Certain players have the ‘it’ factor,” said Head Football Coach Preston Poag. “In both of our sports, he definitely had the ‘it’ factor. What I mean by that is he can make plays when he needs to make plays. No stage is too big.”

Both on the gridiron and on the basketball court, Poag and Head Basketball Coach Tim Ellis say McConkey was a leader in both his play and grades.

“I think that’s something people overlook,” Ellis said. “He’s not just a talented athlete, he’s a steward of the game. He studies the game. He studies and understands ‘this will make me better.’ That helped him, but also from an academic standpoint, you don’t have to worry about him. He was sharp.”

In regard to McConkey’s legacy, the two trophies are hard to ignore.

But both of his coaches say that some of his biggest fans in Chatsworth are still the community’s kids.

“He’s kind of opened the eyes of a lot of North Georgia kids thinking, ‘heck, if he can do that, I can do that,'” Ellis said. “It does make you proud and it gives these other kids something they can strive for. I think that’s a huge legacy, but it also makes us proud that we were a small part of that legacy.”

Principal Dr. Donna Eskut says North Murray students are obsessed with the former Mountaineer and that everyone in the community is proud of who he is becoming — as an athlete and a man.

“We he plays, he’s playing not just for UGA, but he’s still playing for North Murray High School, too,” Eskut said. “That’s really cool.”

“He’s always been seen as a leader in the school not just with his teammates but just the student body,” said Assistant Principal Brooke Young. “He’s always just been kind. He’s just continuing to lead by example.”

Both Coach Ellis and Head Football Coach Preston Poag say McConkey is as much of a class act off the field as he is on it.

When asked if there are any plans for the school to retire his number, they say not quite yet… but never say never.

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