As you were sipping on your coffee and reading the morning paper, Katy Taylor four star offensive lineman Hayden Conner was dropping a surprise commitment video in favor of the Longhorns.
— Hayden Conner (@HaydenConner) July 23, 2019
Conner’s surprise decision caught more than a few people off guard this morning. While he had recently narrowed his list to Michigan, Stanford, Texas, and Texas A&M, an early decision was never said to be in the cards. Clearly the timeline was expedited once Conner’s longtime friend Jalen Milroe decided that Austin was the place to be, as Milroe made a guest cameo in Conner’s commitment video sporting the burnt orange.
Katy Taylor has been a Texas A&M pipeline for several cycles now, so the Longhorns being able to get their foot in the door and get a blue chip prospect out of there is a very encouraging sign for things going forward.
Hayden Conner is a four star OT/OG out of Katy Taylor, who will be entering his third season as a starter for the Mustangs this fall. At 6’5.5, 317 pounds, Conner already possesses good size and length for the position and he is only entering his junior season of high school. As a run blocker, Conner really uses his size to his advantage and is able to move defenders off the LOS. Conner shows a nasty demeanor as he not only looks to block you out of the play, but he looks to finish defenders and put them in the turf whenever he gets a chance. For kid his size he does a solid job of bending and moves well laterally as he shows he is often able to execute blocks when he has to set the edge or cut off defenders on the back side of plays. Conner also does a solid job of getting to the second level whether it is working off a double team or sliding through on the back side of run plays going away from him. While Conner doesn’t necessarily lack functional strength or struggle with moving defenders, he doesn’t possesses great strength in his punch at this point in his development. Additionally, Conner struggles at times with allowing defenders to get into his body despite possessing the length to keep them at bay. As a pass blocker, Conner is incredibly tough to navigate around just from a shear size standpoint. He does a good job of mirroring defenders and not getting off balance, but at he does have a tendency to open up his shoulders a little bit earlier than he has to. Conner can seem a little heavy footed at times, which makes me wonder if he will struggle with speed rushers at the next level and ultimately be able to stick at tackle long term.
As I said before, these are the best kind of commitments. No leaking of it going down, no crystal ball picks going in at the last moment, and no writers from opposing schools spoiling the moment. Conner picking the Longhorns is huge on several fronts, but most importantly it is a big win over regional rival Texas A&M and West Coast nemesis Stanford, who has had a habit of nabbing top Texas talent along the offensive line lately.
The month of July has been very kind to the Longhorns in both the 2020 and 2021 recruiting classes and with the dead period ending and several targets slated to be on campus over the weekend, the fireworks may not be over just yet.
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