Contributed Photo Georgia receiver Kris Durham
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia's king of spring is ready to have a ball this fall.
After redshirting last football season due to an injured shoulder, senior receiver Kris Durham hauled in three touchdown receptions during the April 3 scrimmage and led all receivers in last Saturday's G-Day game with three catches for 54 yards and a score.
"I hope this carries over a lot," Durham said. "I'm just looking forward to playing in the fall because I missed last season. I just can't wait, whatever my role is."
The 6-foot-5, 209-pounder out of Calhoun High School had six catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the 2007 G-Day game and was named the most improved receiver at the end of the '08 spring. A few days before G-Day last year, however, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt announced that Durham would be sidelined for the season.
Durham underwent surgery on a torn left labrum in May.
"It's great to have Kris back," Richt said. "Kris is so valuable because he knows every wide receiver position. He can be at the line of scrimmage and can make sure everybody gets lined up correctly. He is a very good blocker and is a tough guy you can throw screens to, because not many guys want to catch the ball over the middle like he will.
"He can play inside or outside receiver and will know what to do. He can block. He's a leader."
Durham has played in 36 career games, including seven starts. He has 32 career catches for 450 yards, with his lone touchdown coming from 61 yards out in the '08 opener when the top-ranked Bulldogs defeated Georgia Southern.
Saturday was the first of many farewells Durham can expect this year. It was his last G-Day game, and this Friday will be his final day as a student-teacher at Oconee County Middle School in Watkinsville.
"You don't realize how close you get with those students, so it will be bittersweet when it comes to an end," Durham said. "I get my degree in May, which is actually going to be in Sanford Stadium. I've had some good moments out here, but that may be the proudest moment when I get that degree."
On the 12 weekdays in which the Bulldogs practiced this spring, Durham woke up at 5:45 a.m. to meet for an hour with receivers coach Tony Ball. He then drove to Oconee Middle, where he taught Georgia Studies from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., before hurrying back for the afternoon workout.
Backup fullback Fred Munzenmaier, who shares an off-campus house with Durham, told the Athens Banner-Herald last month that Durham "comes home stressed out just like an old man coming home from work."
Durham is majoring in middle school education and may follow in the footsteps of his father, Michael, who taught at Westside Middle in Whitfield County for 18 years. Yet he also is intrigued by coaching in college.
"I'm kind of up in the air," Durham said. "I love teaching and being in the classroom, but I think once I'm through with my playing days about trying to get a GA (graduate assistant) spot and see how I like college coaching."
Said his father: "That would be a tough road, but what if you make it? Bryan McClendon was a graduate assistant for a couple of years at Georgia and is now the running backs coach."
Odds and ends
Right tackle Josh Davis (shoulder) and outside linebacker Cornelius Washington (leg) are "fine," according to an athletic department release, after they sustained G-Day injuries. ... The eight dates and locations of the "Dawg Days" tour headed by Richt were released Monday, but it did not include the Chattanooga/Northwest Georgia Club as a destination.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...