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Alex Conn

Kansas offensive lineman Alex Conn, who has committed to the Huskers, cleared the way for a big offensive day for his Derby high school team last week.

Alex Conn is an offensive lineman from the Great Plains, so maybe it’s no surprise he spent the morning before announcing his college decision via social media in fitting fashion: Chopping up trees after a wicked line of storms rolled through the Derby, Kansas, area on Sunday. 

“There’s fences and trees down all over the place, and I’m just helping a buddy out,” Conn said. “I think we’re on our sixth truck load of trees.”

Once that portion of the work day was done, Conn gave his verbal commitment to play football at Nebraska.

“This is going to sound really weird, but it’s just a gut feeling,” Conn told the Journal Star. “I feel at home at Nebraska. It reminds me of home, and it’s just right down the road. I can just get on the interstate, hang a right and I’m home.”

Conn cleared a big hurdle this weekend during his latest unofficial visit to Lincoln: He got mom’s seal of approval.

The offensive tackle from Derby wasted little time from there making his decision public.

Conn’s been a target for Nebraska for about six months now, ever since offensive line coach Greg Austin stopped by Derby High this winter, watched the 6-foot-6 tackle prospect work out and saw enough to offer Conn his first Division I scholarship offer.

“He’s a guy that’s improved immensely every year,” Derby High coach Brandon Clark said. “I’ve known Alex and I’ve been coaching him in camps and stuff like that, watched him play since the second grade. He’s a kid that’s always gotten better every single year and, honestly, the jump that I think he’s made from his junior year to right now is probably the biggest jump I’ve ever seen him make.”

Clark says Conn played last year at probably a shade shorter than 6-4 and now is past 6-6 and still growing. Under head coach Scott Frost, Austin and head strength coach Zach Duval, the Huskers have mostly targeted taller, leaner high school offensive line prospects with plenty of room for growth over the course of their college careers.

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“It’s just been hard work every day. No days off,” Conn said of his progress. “I’ve got to thank God for just blessing me with my size and my athletic ability. And I’ve got to thank my mom for feeding me. She’s the one that has to go to the store and get the good stuff. And all my coaches and my teammates have just been pushing me, pushing me, pushing me. Every single one of them just to be better.”

Added Clark, “His (junior) film is pretty good and it’s going to be much better when it comes to this year. Just seeing what he can do in the weight room, I knew if we could get coaches in to watch him lift weights, squat, do some footwork stuff and some agility stuff to see how good his feet are, I knew coaches would take that film and see where he’s at now and say he’s definitely an offer kid.”

Conn’s been to campus multiple times since then, including a trip for the Red-White Spring Game in April in which he watched fellow Kansas native Turner Corcoran (Lawrence Free State) pull the trigger and verbally commit.

“It’s pretty cool to get to play alongside somebody that I’d normally play against and getting to combine our skills and our athleticism on the same field one day,” Conn said.

Conn was back in town with Corcoran and a big group of recruits again this weekend for NU’s recruiting barbecue, and it solidified his decision to choose the Huskers over Oklahoma State, Kansas and others.

“I’m just excited to go there and I’m ready to put in the work,” Conn said. “I know it’s not going to be easy, they’re going to work you damn near to dirt, but I’m excited to work with (Duval). He seems like a real cool guy. The first time I met him he was wearing snakeskin boots, so I knew right then he must be pretty cool.”

Conn is the fifth member of Nebraska’s 2020 class and the second verbal pledge in as many days, following defensive back Tamon Lynum (Orlando, Florida), who jumped on board Sunday morning after his official visit.

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (School) Stars
Zavier Betts WR 6-2 190 Omaha (Bellevue West) ****
Alex Conn OT 6-6 280 Derby, Kansas ***
Turner Corcoran OT 6-6 280 Lawrence, Kan. (Free State) ****
Henry Gray DB 6-0 175 Miami (Central) ****
Blaise Gunnerson LB 6-5 250 Carroll, Iowa (Kuemper) ****
Nash Hutmacher DT 6-5 305 Chamberlain, South Dakota ***
Tamon Lynum DB 6-2 170 Orlando, Fla. (Evans) ***
Sevion Morrison RB 6-0 200 Tulsa, Oklahoma (Edison) ***
William Nixon WR 5-11 185 Waco, Texas (Midway) ***
Marvin Scott III RB 5-9 205 Port Orange, Fla. (Spruce Creek) ***
Logan Smothers QB 6-2 180 Muscle Shoals, Ala. ***

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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