Author Archives: connerjelley

Spring Into Action

Like all other schools across the country, Piedmont College has been dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 virus. However, unlike some schools Piedmont College has committed to allow its students back on campus and is working diligently to keep everyone as safe as possible.  

Among those changes was shifting fall sports to the spring semester. The decision was not made alone, but also by the USA South Conference, working on guidance from the NCAA. This change especially impacted fall student-athletes. 

 “Iwas a little heartbreaking to hear that our season was being moved to the spring,” said Olivia Justus, a junior mass communications major and soccer player. “A lot of the players, including myself, trained all throughout quarantine and the summer to get ready for this season. Things are still up in the air on whether we will get to play games or not (since) other schools have different COVID-19 policies, so we may not get to play as many games as we would like. 

The challenge of scheduling is on that falls on 

Piedmont’s Athletics Director Jim Peeples. His job has become more complicated, especially when it comes to scheduling the soccer/lacrosse field that suddenly is needed by four teams in one season: men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s lacrosse. 

It’s a puzzle, with many pieces at this point in time,” he said. “We are trying to do everything we can to try and fit all sports in the spring. 

Like Justus, Peeples acknowledges that part of the challenge is taking into consideration what other USA South Conference schools are doing. 

One of the many puzzle pieces is that several schools within our conference (USA South) are online for school,” he said. “And so far there is no solid plan in place as to how fall sports will be able to fit into the spring. 

But Peeples is committed to allowing fall sports teams to have a season of play. 

Although competition is limited, there is some action of Piedmont’s playing fields. 

Practices have begun for some sports like soccer, lacrosse, softball, and baseball. The number of athletes at practice has been limited to a certain number for an hour at a time.  

For women’s soccer at Piedmont that is great news. The Lady Lions of Piedmont’s women’s soccer team over the past three seasons has gone (47-12-5) 47 wins, 12 losses, 5 ties during the regular season. They have also gone (19-3-1) 19 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie within conference play. They have also gone on to win a conference title and made an appearance in the Division 3 NCAA tournament. The Women’s soccer team has arguably been the best overall team at Piedmont College during their dominating run. So, it is expected they would be eager to get back on the pitch (soccer field) and continue their dominating run.  

“As a team, we are staying positive in hopes of having another winning season in the spring.”  

HOOVES UP

As the new NFL season is now only nine days away, many wonder who the top contenders are going to be. With what can be considered the craziest offseason seen from the NFL in the past twenty years. Some big names are now in new places.  

Tom Brady shocked the world by choosing to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers instead of resigning with the New England Patriots. Many wondered were Cam Newton would end up after the Carolina Panthers had cut ties with him. He eventually wound up in New England to replace the spot of Tom Brady. The Panthers picked up Teddy Bridgewater for their hole within the quarterback position. However, their biggest loss has to be the fact that Luke Keuchly retired at the age of 28. Keauchly was regarded as a generational talent at linebacker and even saw him having a career similar to Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis. One of the league’s top receivers Deandre Hopkins was traded from the Houston Texans to the Arizona Cardinals. The question is now however, with all this talent now on new teams, who is the like top contenders? 

Well, one may very well be the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts had one of the best offseason in recent franchise history. Adding key players on both sides of the ball. With a young but talented defense that was headlined by veteran linebacker Darius Leonard and safety Malik Hooker who was a rookie last year. There was much to like about the Colts defense. Their struggles however came on the offensive side of the ball. Injuries derailed the Colts time and time again during the 2019 season. At times you could see the flashes of brilliance within the offense but no consistency.  

During the offseason, the Colts made huge moves not only to improve the young and hungry defense, but also adding veteran leadership and some impressive young rookies to the offensive side of the ball. The Colts made a huge first step with the acquisition of Deforest Buckner from the San Francisco 49er’s via trade. Buckner, who is a veteran all-pro defensive lineman will give the Colts some much needed help in the pass rush game. On the flip side, the Colts have added some major weapons to their offense. The Colts signed veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who is considered of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation to be at the helm. The Colts offensive line may very well bring out the best in Philip Rivers as they ranked among the top 20 in the NFL for pass blocking efficiency. Whereas the San Diego Chargers, Rivers’ old team ranked in the bottom 5 over the past three seasons.  

 They also added some notable rookies within this year’s draft. There was no doubt that the running game of the Colts needed some sort of boost. So, what do they do? They draft Jonathan Taylor, a running back (RB) from Wisconsin University. Taylor, considered one of the top RB prospects heading into this 2020 season will hopefully bring some much-needed juice to the back field. With the acquisition of Philip Rivers and Jonathan Taylor, the Colts could now look to the air and see how to spice up their passing game. It is no question wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is still one of the top receivers in the league. However, he cannot carry the air barrage alone. receivers in the league.  

However, he cannot carry the air barrage alone. So, the Colts picked up a promising young rookie in the draft to help. Michael Pittman Jr. is a very talented a promising receiver, one that the Colts hope can make big plays for them just as he did at the University of Southern California. So when looking at a team that might just very well have it all, the Indianapolis Colts just might be the team to watch out for. With a crazy talented defense that now has veteran leadership on the front line, a menace of linebacker in Darius Leonard, followed by a young and talented group of defensive back led by Malik Hooker. An offense that now has a stellar front line to block for the honorable Philip Rivers, a core group of running backs that will surely display its destructiveness, and a high-flying group of playmaking receivers led by T.Y Hilton. The Colts may very well be on their way to another Super Bowl.  

Conner Jelley: Grape Jelly is always the move

Hello, my name is Conner Jelley. I hail from the very flat, cornfield filled state of Indiana. I’m a hoosier. So how did I end up here is Demorest, Georgia? Well, my story starts a couple of years ago during my senior year of high school. I grew up in a small town called Monrovia. It is a great little town centrally located in between many major land marks and the city of Indianapolis. I didn’t know what I wanted to study or where to even really begin. So I thought about it, and I decided to do something that I would love.

I am a sports fanatic. From the time I learned how to walk/run and always had either a baseball bat in my hand. Or I was throwing a football. I grew up playing both football and baseball for most of my life. So, naturally I gravitated toward something that would involve sports. Which led me to the broad world of sports communications. I finally had what I wanted to do as not only a job, but also something I could consider a hobby. After that, the next step was to find a place that allowed me to continue my athletic career, and one that offered me that the chance to learn the realm of sports communications. Luckily, someone I was close with had a connection within the baseball coaching staff here at Piedmont. I quickly jumped at the opportunity and sent emails, videos, etc.

While on the way to Florida for a family vacation I took my visit and quickly fell in love with the campus. Being from Indiana it was definitely a scary decision to move nine hours away from all my family and friends that I have grown up with. What I found out relatively fast however, the world of communications is one of great opportunity. I have met some of the most amazing people so far in my journey here at Piedmont as a Sports communications major and baseball player. The opportunities that are provided here are like none other. Hands on experience in all aspects of the communication field ranging from radio, television, videography, photo journalism, and news writing.

Through all this I’ve been able to strive to pursue my dreams. I have been molded into a better person, better friend. The relationships I have within the communications community here at Piedmont are extraordinary. I have made friends with those who have entirely different back grounds from one to the next. All different in their own unique way. It has helped me learn not to judge those by what they wear, how they present themselves, race, color, religion. And that has helped me create friendships that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Piedmont has shaped me into a dedicated, hardworking, blue collar, Georgia loving, person. And being a junior I have much room to grow still. But when its all said and done, I will be able to walk into my first job in the communications field and be able to perform any tasks to the best of my ability. Because here at Piedmont, we build the next generation. Some day you will see us on the screen or you will hear us in your car, on your stereo. If you don’t see us, thats fine, we are behind the scenes making everything work.

As the great late Kobe Bryant once said, “Great things come from hard work, and perseverance, no excuses”.

How I ended up where I am

Hello, my name is Conner Jelley. I hail from the very flat, cornfield filled state of Indiana. I’m a hoosier. So how did I end up here is Demorest, Georgia? Well, my story starts a couple of years ago during my senior year of high school. I grew up in a small town called Monrovia. It is a great little town centrally located in between many major land marks and the city of Indianapolis. I didn’t know what I wanted to study or where to even really begin. So I thought about it, and I decided to do something that I would love.

I am a sports fanatic. From the time I learned how to walk/run and always had either a baseball bat in my hand. Or I was throwing a football. I grew up playing both football and baseball for most of my life. So, naturally I gravitated toward something that would involve sports. Which led me to the broad world of sports communications. I finally had what I wanted to do as not only a job, but also something I could consider a hobby. After that, the next step was to find a place that allowed me to continue my athletic career, and one that offered me that the chance to learn the realm of sports communications. Luckily, someone I was close with had a connection within the baseball coaching staff here at Piedmont. I quickly jumped at the opportunity and sent emails, videos, etc.

While on the way to Florida for a family vacation I took my visit and quickly fell in love with the campus. Being from Indiana it was definitely a scary decision to move nine hours away from all my family and friends that I have grown up with. What I found out relatively fast however, the world of communications is one of great opportunity. I have met some of the most amazing people so far in my journey here at Piedmont as a Sports communications major and baseball player. The opportunities that are provided here are like none other. Hands on experience in all aspects of the communication field ranging from radio, television, videography, photo journalism, and news writing.

Through all this I’ve been able to strive to pursue my dreams. I have been molded into a better person, better friend. The relationships I have within the communications community here at Piedmont are extraordinary. I have made friends with those who have entirely different back grounds from one to the next. All different in their own unique way. It has helped me learn not to judge those by what they wear, how they present themselves, race, color, religion. And that has helped me create friendships that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Piedmont has shaped me into a dedicated, hardworking, blue collar, Georgia loving, person. And being a junior I have much room to grow still. But when its all said and done, I will be able to walk into my first job in the communications field and be able to perform any tasks to the best of my ability. Because here at Piedmont, we build the next generation. Some day you will see us on the screen or you will hear us in your car, on your stereo. If you don’t see us, thats fine, we are behind the scenes making everything work.

As the great late Kobe Bryant once said, “Great things come from hard work, and perseverance, no excuses”.

Michigan native finds more than a coaching position in Georgia

From one small town to another, Luke Harris has lived a life of baseball dreams. Now assistant baseball coach at Piedmont College, Harris, grew up in Fairview, Michigan. Located just more than an hour west of Lake Huron his passion for sports and small towns began. 

 “I had the chance to be surrounded by people who genuinely cared about myself and the community,” Harris said.  

He was fortunate enough to play sports throughout his childhood. However, when it came to High School he focused on baseball and basketball all four years and ran track for one.  

And he did all this while maintaining a job. It was through this, playing sports and holding a job that Harris learned to work hard. To him, that was his biggest takeaway from his hometown.  

“Not having a lot of free time taught me how to manage my time which translated into college where I was playing baseball and going to school. I feel that having to juggle school, sports and a job in high school really helped prepare me for my career as well,” Harris said.  

It was after high school that Harris found his calling. He attended Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan. He was offered a chance to continue his athletic and academic career at Adrian, playing baseball and majoring in secondary social studies education. He played baseball until an injury took his senior year away from him. This led him into coaching.  

Due to his injury, Harris was able to put his foot into a new pathway as a student assistant coach at Adrian College.  

 “My original plan was to teach at a high school and coach baseball” Harris said.  

However, after his experience helping coach in college, he realized that is where he wants to be. He continued coaching at Adrian for four more years as an assistant coach.  

During his time at Adrian he met Jarred Broughton, who is a coach at Piedmont College. Over the years Harris had gained a respect for the Piedmont baseball program. When coaching against Broughton up north, they both found respect for one another. This bond that the two had opened a door for Harris when coach Broughton signed on as an assistant at Piedmont. This past year Harris had a chance to interview for Piedmont’s assistant coaching position before the start of the fall semester. “After coming for an interview, I knew that this was a program that wins at a very high level and that was something I wanted to be a part of,” he said. 

Harris has become a huge addition to the Lions coaching staff. He focuses working with the catchers and is also the strength and conditioning coach for the Lions. Harris said that coaching has taught him a little in every aspect of life. 

 “The biggest thing I’ve learned is how much to value relationships I’ve built with teammates, other coaches, and also players that I’ve coached. At the end of the day, winning baseball games is the goal, but I think the relationships I’ve built throughout coaching far outweigh the wins and losses,” Harris said. 

From a coaching standpoint Harris values his relationships above all. He seems to of found a new home in this small town.