There's just something about Nebraska in Hayden Conner's eyes
Class of 2021 offensive tackle Hayden Conner made his fourth trip to Lincoln, Nebraska for an unofficial visit this past weekend, and he had quite the traveling party in tow with him.
One of which was his teammate at Katy (Texas) Taylor High, fellow class of 2021 offensive line recruit Bryce Foster, who also is in possession of a Cornhusker scholarship offer.
"I came with my mom, my dad, my stepmom, and then Bryce's parents, and one of our three running backs on our team," Conner recounted. "I just brought our running back so that he could get his name out there.
" This made my fourth trip to Nebraska. I first came up there when Coach (Mike) Riley was head coach and, I mean, I loved it here. Then, when the new coaching staff came here, I was like 'this guy's an alumni and the o-line coach is an alumni too,' so that sparked more interest on my part. There's just something about Nebraska that's hard to describe. I just love it up there."
Conner has been developing a good relationship with NU head coach Scott Frost and offensive line coach Greg Austin. He also likes that Coach Austin is a native of Texas.
"It's really good right now being so fresh," Conner relayed about his connection with the new Husker staff. "I usually talk with Coach Austin every other week maybe, and I talk to Coach Frost whenever I get to campus. We talk about how our week has been and how our teams are doing."
Conner was able to see something different on this particular trip to Nebraska that dealt with his future collegiate major.
"Yes, I got to tour the engineering department, so that was new," Conner said. "I plan on studying either aerospace engineering or mechanical engineering, and it went really well. They don't have aerospace engineering, so they kind of explained to me why they don't have it and what I can do for it."
Conner also was able to interact with Husker quarterback Adrian Martinez and several of the offensive linemen currently on the team.
"They understand that it's a process with the new staff and it's going to take some time, but they know how good they are going to be in the future," Conner stated. "The game was amazing. I mean, I went into meetings with Coach Austin and they went over the first three plays of the game.
"They said, 'We're going to do tackle pull that way, tackle pull this way, and then we're going to throw it.' And that's exactly what they did and they scored after the first three plays. So, that really stuck out to me. Probably being in the meetings with the team and seeing how complex it sounds with all the breakdowns and audibles, that really stuck out to me. It was super cool!"
Conner has acquired 16 scholarship offers to date from the likes of LSU, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Miami and Missouri, but three tradition-rich programs are his current leaders and favorites.
"I have been narrowing things down right now and my short list would probably be Nebraska, UT [Texas] and Michigan," Conner shared. "A benefit of UT is it being so close and that Coach Herb Hand is an awesome coach. They've got a lot of good 2019's coming in. And then, Michigan is kind of like the same deal as Nebraska. It's hard to describe, but it's really nice to be up there [in Ann Arbor]."
Conner has visited Michigan once and Texas three times. He plans to have a final decision made by the end of his junior year of high school.
"Number one for me is education, of course," Conner said. "Two being the culture and the fans and the city. Three being the relationship that I have with coaches. I want to have things done and out of the way by at least the end of my junior year, so that I can help recruit for my school."
Winter arrived early in Nebraska this year, but Conner said that was no problem for him at all. In fact, he has an affinity for the cold weather.
"No, it was fun!" Conner stated about the chilly temperatures in Lincoln during his weekend stay. "I like the cold because I'm an offensive lineman. That's offensive linemen weather."
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Conner plays left tackle for the 5-5 Katy Taylor High, and Bryce Foster plays left guard.
"We work really well together, and we start the first round of playoffs next week [against Fort Bend Dulles]," Conner said.