Conway's dedication proves "huge inspiration"

Fifth-year senior says "there were times" where he almost gave up due to injuries. Now, he is in better shape and fighting for playing time.

The 2009 Michigan State recruiting class brought in five offensive linemen.

As the Spartans go through fall camp in 2013, two of them (David Barrent and Nate Klatt) are no longer on the team due to medical disqualifications.

Fifth-year senior Henry Conway, who suffered a neck injury that kept him out for the entire 2010 season, almost accepted the same fate.

"There were times (I almost gave up)," Conway said. "That flies straight out of your head when you want this team to be great. That's all I kept thinking about.

"I want us to go to the Rose Bowl. I want us to do the great things that are expected of us – that our fans are waiting for. I just kept working and kept my nose to the grind."

In sticking it out, the 6-foot-6, 327-pound lineman said it has been a grind, but he kept pushing.

"I just want this team to be great," he said. "I want to be better. I want myself to be great. I just want to be successful. You gotta do the right things."

The right things for Conway meant changing the way he ate so he could be in better shape.

"I used to get like three servings, chicken and mashed potatoes and corn and greens and all that," he said. "I would get three servings, but I narrowed it down to one serving. Maybe for lunch I have a ham sandwich or something instead of going to McDonald's or going to fast food. … That's what helps you slim down, you can't have a lot of food and expect to be skinny."

It also wasn't long ago that Conway said he would drop out part way through summer conditioning drills because he was "super big and heavy." This summer, he stayed active and worked harder.

"Instead of going home and sitting on my butt, I actually went to go work out," he said. "That helped me a lot and when I came back, I slimmed down a lot. The hot weather helped me when it was like a sauna out here. That slimmed me down to about 320, 318, around that area. I just felt a lot better."

Conway said he didn't do anything special in the summer, just worked out with the team.

"I would work out with the offensive line a lot," he said. "The O-line helped me a lot. I love those guys right there. Those are my brothers. They helped me out a lot. Just being around them. The head strength and condition coach, Coach (Ken) Mannie, Coach (Tommy) Hoke, Coach (Lorenzo) Guess and Coach (Bill) Burghardt all stayed with me and just helped me through the struggle."

It didn't go unnoticed, as head coach Mark Dantonio said at both Big Ten Media Days and MSU's Media Day that Conway had a good spring and summer and "can be a really good football player."

Now, as he enters his fifth year at Michigan State, Conway is making a strong push for playing time.

"(I have) just been switching around a lot with the two and the ones," he said. "Coach (Mark) Staten has me working mainly with the twos right now. I've been with the right guards and then they switched me over to right tackle."

Whether he plays a big role this season or not, Conway has served as motivation for his teammates as he kept fighting and didn't quit after his neck injury.

"Henry Conway has been a huge inspiration for us," Fonoti said. "A guy from his injury and just seeing him, he was making huge strides in the summer. He's killing everything, doing a great job. You can see him out here. He's really pushing through the fatigue. Everyone else is tired, but to see him taking those strides is definitely good. I think he is going to do big things this year."

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