For every 5-star prospect who signs with a power program on national signing day there are dozens of lesser-known recruits who make their commitment to smaller schools. Few will attract more attention than Lion King Conaway, the newest member of the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
Most signings, especially for teams outside the power conferences, are overlooked on the most prominent recruiting day of the year. Yet, when there's somebody named Lion King on the commitment list, it's obviously going to attract some attention.
Eastern Michigan confirmed the addition of Conaway, an in-state defensive end from Southfield High School. He completed the school's 17-player class for 2014:
The last NLI has been approved and the 2014 EMU recruiting class officially stands at 17. Our final new Eagle is...Lion King! #EMUSigningDay— EMU Football (@EMUFB) February 5, 2014
Beyond his outstanding name—Timon and Pumbaa would be proud—very little is known about Conaway from a football perspective.
Several recruiting outlets didn't even have an individual player page for him. Those that did, such as Scout.com, had very little detail beyond his basic information. The site lists him at 6'4'', 225 lbs. with a 2-star overall rating.
Based on those measurements, he would obviously benefit from bulking up early in his college career to fill out his frame. Otherwise, Conaway seems like an intriguing mid-major prospect.
Kyle Austin of MLive.com provided further information about his high school production and a comment from his coach:
Conaway is rated a two-star recruit by Scout.com, which lists him at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. He recorded 62 tackles and seven sacks playing defensive end for the Bluejays.
"He's got a really athletic, long wingspan," Southfield coach Tim Conley said.
Tim Sullivan of The Wolverine passed along a picture of the suddenly popular recruit from the national signing day festivities:
Since everyone is talking about Lion King Conaway, here's a shot of him from this morning. pic.twitter.com/ZSsT6Pvbgz— Tim Sullivan (@TimS_Wolverine) February 5, 2014
Where does Lion King rank among current great sports names?
Eastern Michigan has to love the added attention he's bringing to the program. It was a pretty nondescript day for the Eagles before he signed on. 247Sports rated their class as the worst in the MAC. Those weren't the final rankings, however, with several recruits still unlisted.
Alas, the addition of Lion King Conaway was enough to generate more attention than their MAC counterparts. Making headlines on national signing day is always good for programs outside the major conferences.
Conaway didn't top any recruiting rankings. He probably won't stay in the spotlight for too long as he begins his career with Eastern Michigan. But at least he knows if there were rankings based on the cool factor of names, he would lead the 2014 class.
In the end, while the elite prospects still enjoyed most of the attention on national signing day, there's always room for a recruit named Lion King.