DALLAS — Stacy Conner had several options to play Division I football but in the end he chose BYU, and for good reason. The Cougars are in the market for a quarterback, and it so happens that Conner has some valuable prep experience as a signal-caller.
Conner can hardly wait to get the Cougar uniform on and get to work. He has an arsenal of tools he wants to show off, including his competitive spirit. He is not brash nor a braggart, but rather a humble student of the pigskin. In other words, he lets his gridiron toughness do the talking for him.
“Oh yeah, I’m ready for BYU,” said Conner during a Sunday evening gathering of Wylie, Texas, friends and supporters. “I’m anxious to get to BYU, and I know this will be a great fit for me.”
Conner’s route to Div. I football comes by way of Bishop Dunne High in Dallas, where he competed during his first three three years of high school, and Wylie High where he played his senior year. His prep coach at Bishop Dunne, Michael Johnson, says that when Conner is exposed to football 24/7, he will grow even more. Conner is only 17 years old but already thinks like a seasoned veteran.
“He is a great young man, with great character,” Johnson said. “He’s young, but he is very talented — a gifted and talented quarterback. He has the arm strength to throw the ball; he has a quick release and intelligence when it comes to managing the football field during a game.”
Conner is young and recently graduated from Wylie High, and will be in Provo for spring practices. Johnson also noted that Conner will be joining former Bishop Dunne player Micah Simon, who has already made an indelible mark on the BYU offense.
Bishop Dunne High is part of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools and competes against other teams in the association. Bishop Dunne is generally one of the top private teams in the state but not on par with schools that compete in the public system. The move to Wylie this year was an opportunity to face stiffer competition.
Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing 195 pounds, Conner has great physicality and can see down the field. Should he need to escape the pocket, Conner has quick footwork and the uncanny ability to direct receivers to an open area. Some say the “kid has a cannon” for an arm.
In his first two games at Wylie, Conner passed for more than 700 yards, which included nine touchdowns passes. He also rushed for three more TDs during those two games. It didn’t hurt that once outside the pocket, he could make his own way to the goal line.
In the fourth game of the season, Conner threw two more TDs then was pulled in favor of lining up at wide receiver in overtime. Wylie went for a two-point conversion, which was completed to Conner for the win.
During the final five games of the 2017 season, Conner saw limited time on the field. No reason was given by coaches and Conner was never told the reason.
Some who know WHS football are convinced it was because Conner played his first three years at Bishop Dunne rather than at Wylie, and speculate there may have been some petty jealousy from a couple of position coaches. You have to understand that football is a religion in Texas.
But Wylie High head coach Bill Howard sees things a little differently, saying that Conner is a great kid who works very hard, and like any freshman quarterback, he will need to develop and mature a little bit. A traditional gridiron powerhouse, WHS faltered, finishing the 2017 campaign 3-7 overall and 2-5 in district play.
“Stacy’s upside is through the roof,” Howard said. “He is a good athlete that is off the charts. BYU got a steal when they signed Stacy.”
Conner is looking forward to the opportunity of proving his former coach right.
“I’m going to BYU to play football," Conner said, "and to make a difference at a quality football program.”
Conner is unconcerned about how his senior season played out. His focus now is on Div. I football, helping BYU regain its tradition as a quarterback school. At the end of the day, he did what was needed during his high school career. Now he is anxious to get back to work.
Bishop Dunne coach Johnson said Conner has studied the history of BYU football and its quarterbacks.
“This will be a comfortable fit for him,” he said. “He’s big enough, strong enough to play this position.”
Ralph C. Jensen is the editor in chief for Security Today magazine. He also is an occasional freelance writer.