Lee's Story

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson writes about Little Rock's Lee Conic (6-5, 290, 4.8) - one of the state's best college football prospects despite not being involved in a game for a long time This story is sponsored by the Arkansas Toyota Dealers. It's free and so is a special offer to attend a Razorback event on the Arkansas Toyota Dealers website.

Special Offer from Arkansas Toyota Dealers and HI:

Win free tickets for two to see the Arkansas Razorbacks play baseball this season at Baum Stadium. 

It is simple. All you need to do is click on the name of your local Arkansas Toyota Dealer to register.  After you register to win this great package -- take a look at the Toyota line of vehicles! 

Arguably one of the best - and certainly biggest - high school football prospects in the state of Arkansas didn't play a single down last season.

He might not play a single down next season.

So how in the world is he a guy that the University of Arkansas and many other colleges inside this state and out are enamored with?

Well, Lee Conic is a 6-foot-5, 290-pound defensive end prospect with a great mix of speed (4.8 in the 40-yard dash) and power who is doing his best to overcome some hardships suffered earlier in his life.

The muscled-up Conic, who is currently enrolled at Little Rock Lutheran and will likely return to Little Rock Catholic this fall, was certainly one of the best-looking prospects on hand at Saturday's FCA Combine at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

He was even bigger and more athletic looking than he was as a 265-pound prospect at Houston Nutt's football camp last summer when he jumped out at observers.

"I've been busting my butt both in the classroom and working out this semester to try and put myself in position to overcome some mistakes I have made in my life and some circumstances I have had to deal with," Conic said. "I have a great dad and mom now who have taken me love me and and I am trying so hard."

According to his adopted dad Robert Hamilton, Conic was a product of parental neglect from his birth mom and had no direction in his life when Hamilton and his wife Brenda Shaffer first became a part of it a couple of years ago.

"He is such a kindhearted loving kid who just needed someone to love him back and give him some direction is his life," Hamilton said. "I am so proud of the way he has worked so hard to overcome things."

Conic - who is just 17 right now - played in two high school games a ninth grader at Little Rock Catholic before being dismissed from the team.

He would play on Catholic's junior varsity team as a sophomore while showing lots of promise, but his grades suffered and he ended up having to take his 10th grade year over.

Everything looked good for his junior season at Catholic, but just before he was about to start the season, Conic was ruled ineligible again.

Conic would transfer to Little Rock Lutheran in October, but there is no guarantee that Little Rock Lutheran will field a varsity team this season.

So the young man is working hard to make sure his cumulative grade point average is above 2.0, which would allow him to transfer back to Catholic.

If he is able to do that, then there would still be one more huddle for him to jump - becoming eligible by Arkansas Athletics Association standards.

"We have filed a petition in hope that he will be allowed to play," Hamilton said. "There is a section in the AAA handbook that has to do with parental abandonment and that is the basis that we are filing the petition on."

Conic is the first to admit he has been humbled by all he has gone through and just hopes the adults controlling his eligibility give him a chance to play this season if he completes his part of the deal in the classroom.

"This has been a learning process and I feel like I have matured and become a better person through all of it," Conic said. "I love playing football and hope I get the chance to do so this next season. If I get that chance, I am going to become the best teammate and player that I can. I realize I am lucky. My life could have turned out so different, but now that I have some direction and people around me who love me and care for me, I want to repay them by being the best I can be in everything I do whether it is on the football field or not."

He is quick to admit that he's thought about what it would be like one day if he got to put on an Arkansas jersey and play for the Razorbacks.

He will be in Fayetteville June 13-15 for this summer's Houston Nutt Camp.

"Wow, what a end to a dream that would be for me," Conic said. "But I know that to even get close to doing for Arkansas or some other college that I have to put in the work now. I'm playing catch up right now, but I am doing it with the right attitude and the right people behind me. It feels good."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories