KATY — The season began harshly for Katy Taylor and Texas offensive tackle commit Hayden Conner. The Mustangs lost 69-7 to Humble Atasocita, one of Houston’s best Class 6A teams. Conner is one of seven Texas commits in the 2021 class, and while the game didn’t end with a win, he was happy to start his junior season.
“It feels like I never left the field. I’ve been working all summer for the season and to help my team win games,” Conner said. “It’s always good to hit someone other than your teammates because there are a lot of times in practice where I want to go full speed, but I can’t.”
Conner is a 6-5, 317-pound four-star with the ability to play guard or tackle at Texas. Conner reminds me of a young Derek Kerstetter with higher upside due to Conner’s athleticism and strength. He’s a smart, versatile lineman with a future in Austin. He plans to graduate in December 2020 and enroll early.
“Our scheme at Taylor is similar to what coach Hand does with the offensive line, so two more seasons will help prepare me for Austin,” Conner said. “My main individual focus will be on strength and footwork.”
Conner was a first-team all-district selection as a sophomore, but he’s seeing improvements as he becomes an upperclassman.
“Since my first varsity start, my knowledge of the game has grown exponentially,” he said. “But in the last six months I’ve made tremendous gains in the weight room and it’s definitely translating to the field.”
Katy Taylor is also home to 2021 offensive guard target Bryce Foster. The four-star holds offers from nearly every program in the country with Texas and Texas A&M among his early favorites. Unlike Conner, Foster is in no hurry to pick a school. He’s focused on his junior year.
“It was really cool to finally get out there and hit someone else under the lights. It’s what every high school kid dreams of getting to do,” Foster said. “I’ve really grown mentally. I’ve always been a strong guy and always been able to just overpower, but this year I’m trying to take a leadership role and get everyone’s heads up if we are down.”
The 6-4, 318-pound four-star is the No. 1-ranked guard in the 2021 cycle. His offer list is 23 programs deep after earning all-district honors as a sophomore. He’s a big, physical player who is rarely out-muscled at the point of attack. The 2021 cycle is loaded with offensive linemen in the state of Texas. Foster hopes continued improvements elevate him to the top of that list.
“I think I need to improve on my balance and pad level,” he said. “I will be fixing those this week in practice, so it won’t be a problem at the next game.”
Katy Taylor continues its season Thursday at Houston Cypress Springs with kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium.