March 8, 2010

Durham making impact on, off the field

Kris Durham is not only hoping to make an impact at receiver for Georgia this fall, but he'd like to make one with the youth of Oconee County as well.

Yes, Durham is back on the field for the Bulldogs after missing last year with a shoulder injury. But football is not the only endeavor on his sizable plate. His daytime hours are being spent as a student teacher at Oconee County Middle School where he's teaching eighth-graders U. S. History.

"It's fun, a lot of fun," Durham said. "I get to enjoy the youth of America, have a little influence on them."

An education major, Durham said he's putting in a full day as a teacher, showing up for work at 7:30 in the morning and staying until school lets out at 3:30.

"I'm grading papers, making tests, I'm doing it all," said Durham. "I have a good mentor teacher who's helping me out a lot."

On this particular day, Durham discussed Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott with his class.

"Some days they're a handful, some are definitely more mischievous than I was," Durham winked. "I was always the good kid."

Durham said it didn't his students long to realize their new teacher was a wide receiver on the Bulldog football team.

Durham just shook his head about that.

"Oh, they figured that out after the first 20 minutes. I don't know if somebody recognized me or another teacher said something," he said. "I had to get that out of the way real quick. A lot of these kids want to look at me as their friend, so I've had to try to show a little more discipline. I just tell them not to think of me as a football player; I'm here to help you guys learn and get an education."

Durham, who will begin graduate school this summer, hopes to get into coaching and teach once his playing days are through.
But that won't be for at least one year.

Durham still has one more year with the Bulldogs, who will be counting on the Calhoun native to play in integral role in a receiving corps - like the one last season - that will still be lacking in overall depth.

Durham appears to be healthy and ready to go.

He was able to participate in last Thursday's first day of spring drills without any trouble, and reports his shoulder is no longer a problem at all.

"Oh, I'm fine; the shoulder is fine," Durham said. "I just hope I'm not as rusty as I think I'll be. I'm just glad to be out there playing with the guys."

But sitting out wasn't easy.

"Sitting out a year was hard, especially after I had already played a lot, but I feel I learned from it," Durham said. "Taking a year off made me appreciate the game more and appreciate what the coaches are saying and understand that what they want you to do is beneficial."

Durham's biggest adjustment so far is the realization he's now the 'old man' of the receiving corps.
"I'm still trying to get used to that," he said. "It's definitely a new role. I'm usually more quiet, go out and do my own thing; try to lead by example. I do have A.J. (Green) to help me out with that, but it's different. I'm just trying to take it in stride."


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