He's dreamed of playing in the National Football League for as long as he can remember. "This is also a dream right now playing in the SEC on Saturdays in front of big crowds, but the NFL would be amazing," said Conner. "That would be huge for anyone. I feel it is realistic, too. I have to finish a good senior season and then I hope I have that chance."
The Cincinnati native even reluctantly admits getting to play in the NFL would be more meaningful than finally earning a scholarship at Kentucky.
"Probably playing in the NFL would be bigger just knowing where I came from. Getting a chance to play at the top level would be something for a former walk-on like me," Conner said. But he's far from a typical walk-on player. He was a two-year starter at Lakota West High School in Cincinnati and rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns his senior year. He received attention from numerous Division I schools, including Tennessee and West Virginia, before deciding to take his chances as a walk-on at UK. Now he's developed into a premier fullback. He was named the best blocking back in the SEC by the Birmingham News, an honor UK coach Rich Brooks knows he deserves.
"For his position, I think he is one of the best players in the country," Brooks said. "I think he is a NFL prospect. Every time he touches the ball it usually results in positive yards. He plays special teams. He never complains. He almost never misses a block. He's really a special player."
He didn't exactly feel special his first two years at Kentucky when he was paying his own way to school. "I felt like my opportunities here were greater. I wanted to play in the SEC against the best players that were out there. I felt like I was that kind of player that could play against this type of competition. I didn't want to settle for anything less," Conner said. "Another thing was the location. It was far enough to get away from home, but at the same time it was not so far that I could not go home.