The first time Chestatee football coach Shaun Conley met Seth Pressley, he had no idea he was looking at the player who would develop into the most prolific receiver to ever play for the War Eagles.
As a freshman, Pressley was small, even for his age — a far cry from the prototypical wideout that football programs at every level usually covet.
“He was a little bitty thing,” Conley said. “Skinny as a rail.”
Pressley knew at the time that he would have to work harder than most to earn playing time, but effort and dedication were never a concern for him. By the time his body caught up to his work ethic, Pressley was ready to produce.
Over his junior and senior years, Pressley racked up 2,415 receiving yards, ranking inside the top five in the state among all classifications both years. The mark is the second highest among all high school players over the past two seasons.
“That is just being persistent and learning his craft and working his craft,” Conley said. “There’s not one that’s more dedicated or anything like that on the team. He sold out and made himself successful, really.”
Pressley’s rise to the top of the War Eagle depth chart began in his first year with the team, though it came at a slow and steady pace rather than an immediate one.
“I was definitely on the smaller side, so it was harder to compete as a freshman and sophomore,” he said. “But I just kept working at it, getting stronger in the weight room, bulking up.”
The switch flipped for him during a home game against East Hall last season.
Pressley caught 11 balls for 195 yards and a touchdown against the visiting Vikings, helping the War Eagles go over 40 points in the game after scoring just 7 total in the previous two contests combined. He went for 140 yards the following week against Fannin County, and then 234 the game after that against Denmark.
“I just built off momentum and kept going,” he said. “Kept producing the best I could every game.”
Pressley’s production never slowed down for the remainder of his high school career, and neither did his work ethic. In four years with the War Eagles, neither he nor Conley can remember a single practice that he has missed for any reason.
The player was the same one who had been setting an example to follow on the practice field since Day 1, but the receiving numbers were finally starting to match the work put in.
“He’s very high character,” Conley said. “He’s well-liked by his teammates. He’s a leader. He’s not very vocal off the field. But he leads by deed, by his actions. He contributes a lot. And he’s just a good kid.”
And while Pressley has certainly accumulated the stats to warrant high-level collegiate interest, he has yet to catch on in the recruiting scene, even with his graduation quickly approaching this spring.
As of now, he sits at one Division III offer, while top end schools around the country turn a blind eye to his undeniable production. Though he has grown to 6-feet even and 160 pounds, Pressley still lacks the physical measurements that most Division I programs look for when recruiting.
Because of this, Conley said he expects whichever school ends up taking a chance on Pressley will be receiving a bargain.
“They’re getting the heart and the determination and all the factors that you can’t put a numerical measure on,” he said. “He’s a good football player.”
Pressley remains unbothered by his situation, claiming that his goal is to work his way into the highest level of football he possibly can over the next four years. It may not be the easiest road, but he’s plenty used to that.
All Pressley has to do is rely on his own advice, the sentiment he would offer to any other young player in a similar position as him.
“If you’re not playing right away, then you can always work and get in the position you want to be in,” he said. “You just have to put in the work.”