LINCOLN — Alex Conn is an honest guy. An urgent one, too. The Derby (Kan.) High School offensive tackle is ready to commit to one of his top choices for college.
Nebraska. Oklahoma State. Kansas.
He’s already visited all three schools, and the Huskers will get the final crack this weekend when Conn brings his mom to Lincoln for an unofficial visit and NU’s big barbecue shindig.
Conn wants to make his decision on Monday.
“To be honest with you, I’m having a hard time picking between the three,” Conn said Tuesday evening.
KU and OSU are both two hours from his home just north of Wichita, so his family could see more of his games. Nebraska is four hours away. Conn actually likes the distance, but knows his family wouldn’t be able to see as many games.
That’s where his mom, Shelly, comes in. She’s been to the other schools. Now she’ll see Nebraska. Win the mom, and win the kid. Maybe it sounds corny, Alex Conn said, but his mom is helping him think through the decision.
A consensus three-star prospect, Conn has nothing but praise for the Huskers’ approach and consistency in recruiting him. The 6-foot-6, 280-pounder lists seven Power Five conference offers, but Nebraska was the first to believe in Conn’s talents.
“I was extremely grateful to have received that offer,” Conn said. “The relationship has been great. Text, phone calls, FaceTime. Coach (Greg) Austin seems like a great, great coach. He seems like a guy who knows what he’s doing and he’ll push you to the limit and a little bit further.”
Derby coach Brandon Clark — a former Kansas State receiver — said Nebraska’s offer gave it a key advantage.
“That went really far with Alex and, within a week, he was up there with Coach (Scott) Frost and all those guys,” Clark said. “He thinks Nebraska really cares about him, and that goes a long way with Alex.”
Conn is one of the best players who has come through Derby, Clark said, a prospect who has experienced several growth spurts in high school and whose potential increased exponentially this offseason. Each college coach who visited the school was impressed by how much Conn could lift and his athleticism for a man with his frame.
“He has great hips,” Clark said. “His footwork is phenomenal. You watch our agility drills, our quick feet drills and he moves like our 5-foot-9 guys in his 6-6 frame. He’s just a natural athlete. He can really play low, and, at that size, a lot of 6-6 guys can’t play with good pad level, but he can.”
If Conn picks the Huskers, he’d be the second offensive lineman from Kansas to commit in the 2020 class. Lawrence Free State’s Turner Corcoran was the first. Corcoran was Nebraska’s top offensive line priority.
Conn is high on the list, too, for a team that’s still short on tackles despite signing three — Bryce Benhart, Matthew Anderson and Jimmy Fritzsche — in the 2019 class. Only Benhart is a likely candidate to burn his redshirt this season. Anderson and Fritzsche both have weight to gain. Corcoran, however, looks ready-made to play early, and Conn has a similar frame.
Nebraska just has to make mom feel the same way her son does.
“I just like the vibe at Nebraska,” Conn said.