If you’re a blue-chip offensive tackle like 2022 Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach five-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr., what Michigan football did to his hometown Washington Huskies at The Big House was a show for the ages.
Yes, Conerly grew up a Washington fan, but with the atmosphere in Ann Arbor, with a successful maize out and raucous crowd, along with an offensive performance where the Wolverines ran 56 times for 343 yards, it’s hard to top. Especially considering he hadn’t been to a college football game in nearly two years due to the pandemic.
“First, it was super fun. I haven’t been to a college game in a few years, so for that to be the first game that I’d go to was pretty fun,” Conerly told WolverinesWire. “It was a pretty different atmosphere than what I’ve been in. It was a lot of energy. The student section’s huge — that really cool to see. I had a really fun time.
“It was different than a lot of games that I go to. That game will end up being an all-time classic game for years to come. But to see a performance like that from the offensive line, it was different. I’ve never seen someone put 350 running or passing the ball on anybody, unless it was like a Seahawks game or something.”
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It wasn’t Conerly’s first visit to campus, of course. The No. 18 player in the country, regardless of position, according to 247Sports, made it to campus for the annual BBQ at the Big House, and on his return, official visit this past weekend, he got a chance to grow closer with many of the recruits on hand, especially the current Michigan commitments.
“Yeah, I got a chance to hang out with Connor Jones and Domani Jackson, Will Johnson, Myles Pollard — to name a few guys,” Conerly said. “I got to know them a little bit more. Me and Connor hung out back when I was at the BBQ back in July. The rest of those guys, I got to know them a little bit more than what I’ve known over the internet. Actually got to know them as people, so that was kinda cool.”
Josh Conerly Jr. with former Michigan G and hall of famer Steve Hutchinson (photo provided by Conerly).
Naturally, their message to him was that he needs to come to Ann Arbor, but Conerly is in no rush at the moment. He’s unsure where else he’ll use his other four official visits, noting that Oregon and USC have a shot. He’s skeptical of whether or not he’ll use one of his officials to visit his hometown school, even, considering he’s been multiple times and plans to go back for an unofficial this weekend when the Huskies host Arkansas State.
The game aside, Conerly really enjoyed getting to know head coach Jim Harbaugh more. What he really appreciated was that Harbaugh took time to get to know him and his family, not pushing a recruiting angle, not making a hard sell. Instead, Harbaugh and the Conerly family just had a regular conversation — right in the middle of the chaos of a big recruiting weekend and one of Michigan’s premier games of the season.
“I had a meeting with Coach Harbaugh. I wasn’t even like him recruiting me,” Conerly said. “Me and him and my parents had a meeting — not necessarily like a meeting, but it was more like a conversation, you know, it wasn’t like a meeting. Not him trying to recruit me to his school, more talking among regular people, having a normal conversation. (He wasn’t) trying to throw Michigan all over, trying to throw Michigan at me, promise me a bunch of things. He gave me a real spiel. Us, him and my parents had a real conversation like real people.”
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Conerly plans on committing to his school of choice at either the All-American Bowl or on national signing day proper in February 2022 — so he’ll take his recruitment to the wire.
Unsure at the moment what he plans to study, business has become appealing to him of late. But what he’s looking for most out of a college program is a bond with his fellow teammates, as well as a program that’s committed to winning on the field.
Given everything that’s happened in the world over the past year and a half, Conerly wants to make sure that his college experience makes up for some of the time and memories that were lost.
“Whether there’s a real brotherhood on the team and a real culture — a winning culture,” Conerly said. “Because that’s something I need after coming through a tough high school career. I really need somewhere where I feel comfortable on and off the field and get my degree and thrive.”
As noted, Conerly is rated the No. 18 prospect nationally as well as the No. 2 offensive tackle and top player in the state of Washington.