Class of 2022: Husky OL Target Josh Conerly Has Unlimited Options
Josh Conerly, Washington state's top football recruit for the class of 2022, holds 20 firm scholarship offers and counting from the nation's top programs. Suitors include Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, USC and Washington. He can practically go to any school he wants.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound offensive tackle from Seattle's Rainier Beach High School has dreamed of this moment for some time. It became reality last October, when he received his initial offer from Tennessee.
“Once I got that first offer, it was life-changing,” Conerly said.
He's welcomed a steady stream of recruiting pitches ever since. Ranked as one of the nation's top 10 tackles for his class, he's had to pinch himself for what all of this means.
“Just the fact that you can go to school for free is amazing,” Conerly said.
As he navigates the wieldy college football recruiting process, he's looking for a school that feels like home. Simple as that. This supersedes everything.
“The most important thing for me is to feel comfortable,” he said.
Even with all the choices available, he says hometown Washington rates high with him. Growing up in Seattle, he's been a longtime Husky fan. He would welcome playing in front of family and friends if it comes to that.
At the same time — and this might be hard for fans to hear on each side of the intense competition — Conerly remains an equal-opportunity recruit when it comes to the bitter border rivalry that includes Oregon.
“The Huskies and the Ducks have been the sports teams I have always liked,” he said.
He was able to visit the UW for its Junior Day event in January prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. He's kept in touch with the Washington coaches during his preparation for a late-starting spring high school season. He's keeping up on his commitm
“I've been able to work out since March at the beginning of the shutdown," he said. "Lots of weight lifting, conditioning and staying fit."
As the oldest among his siblings, he's tried to lead by example in setting high standards for himself, which involves maintaining a high grade-point average.
He's grateful having a father to look up, a parent that not everyone has in his circle of friends. He feels fortunate.
“A lot of people around me don’t have that guidance," he said. "The love, affection and advice he gives me is something that I would not trade for the world."
Conerly implements the wise words he receives from his father and others as he takes aim at success. One adage stands out more than others.
“No matter how hard stuff gets, just look on the bright side of everything,” he said.
Rainier Beach High last season made it to the state quarterfinals, but lost nearly two-dozen seniors. As a junior, Conerly understands it's his turn to step up and lead.
The team is bonding now as it approaches the upcoming season and he's optimistic about making another playoff run.
“We are going to be a lot better this year, for sure,” said Conerly in spite of the pandemic interruption of traditional practices.
While having all those scholarship offers pile up in front of him, he plans to take lay it all out on the field when football resumes. He's stepping up rather than throttling back.
At his young age, he's become one of the nation's top recruits. He's not short of choices or talent. He understands it's up to him to make the most of this situation.
"Everything I do is to better myself and my family,” Conerly said. “To me, football is everything."