By Jerry Williamson
As the saying goes, "Everything is bigger in Texas". That's certainly the case with the lone star state -- massive and athletic eighth-grader, Hayden Conner who stands 6-foot-5, 274-pounds, who shines offensively, at both offensive tackle and tight end.
As an eighth-grader, Conner, proved he was both athletically and academically gifted. He started both ways for Memorial Parkway Junior High and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society (all Pre-AP classes) as well as sporting a 3.72 weighted GPA. Most importantly, he volunteers his time as a helper with Special Olympics and the Houston Buddy Walk (fundraiser for individuals with Down Syndrome).
Conner's accolades over a four-year period are jaw-dropping. In 2014, he was ranked the No. 1 overall player in the country, followed being honored as the No. 1 overall (12-and-under) athlete in Texas. In 2015, Generation Nexxt ranked Hayden Conner a 5-star athlete (one of three awarded) and would be crowned as the Player of the Year as well as several others earning most valuable player honors at notable events such as the National Underclassmen, Combine and All-American Bowls
Conner, made history, locally and nationally as he became the first 4-time All-American selection in youth history. As a seventh-grader in track and field, throwing the discus (with a throw of 118-7 1/4,) broke his school's and district 30-year old record.The multi-sport superstar, has captured titles in organized Football, AAU Basketball (averaged 15pts), Track and Field and 7v7 All-Star football. Conner made Team Texas Elite – Team White (7v7 High School All-Star Team) and was on Team North Texas that went to the NFL Hall of Fame and won the first annual 8th Grade Canton Classic this fall.
This past Sunday, in Dallas, TX -- As an 8th grader, participating in Rivals' 3 Stripe Camp, he won reps against four-star defensive ends with power five conference verbal offers. Out of 1600 athletes at the Rival Speed Camp, they chose 5 kids to move forward and Hayden Conner was one of the five (the only 8th grader, among 2019 & 2020 prospects) selected. He's currently drawing interest from the likes of LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Rice just to name a few. Conner's bloodline in football is spread throughout the lone star state. His father, Steve Conner (Sam Houston State), grandparents, uncles and cousins, TCU, Baylor, University of Houston UTEP and Tarleton State.
1-on-1 with Hayden Conner (Questions & Answers)
Q: Who do you compare your game to?
A: I want to play offensive line and tight end with the same intensity that JJ Watt plays defense. At TE I'm more like Jason Witten good at setting the edge, not the fastest TE but good at getting open and using my body and being a possession receiver.
Q: Who motivated you to play football?
A: My Dad motivated me to play football and works with me every week.
Q: What will you like the world to know about you?
A: I want to use football to get an education and make a difference. I'll decide which path in Science I take in college over the next 4 years.
Q: What's your favorite food?
A: Can't go wrong with Hamburgers!