When you throw for nearly 7,000 yards in college, one would think your position in professional football would likely be quarterback.
But when you're 6-foot-5, 232 pounds and are running the 40-yard dash in the 4.5-second range — you don't get pigeon-holed into being labeled a one-position prospect. Welcome to the life of Zach Conque of Stephen F. Austin — one of the more intriguing FCS pro prospects heading into next week's NFL Draft. Because … not only was he one of SFA's greatest all-time passers, he's also one of the Lumberjacks' top rushers of all-time with 34 career rushing touchdowns.
So ditch the labels, OK? Just call Conque the Swiss Army knife prospect out of SFA. Some think of him as a tight end prospect, an H-back style guy, a "slash" style QB. Some think pure quarterback. With his specs, there are options.
If you have to have a label, try this one — trending upwards.
"I'll play quarterback or tight end or whatever the organization wants me to play," Conque told HERO Sports this past week. "I know there are several examples of guys like that. Julian Edelman has also played as an emergency quarterback. There's Travis Kelce too. There are lots of examples around the league. You can only have 53 guys (on an active NFL roster), and only so many in uniform. It's an advantage for me to be a guy who can do multiple things throughout the offense."
His college production and his March Pro Day experiences have gotten him to this point. He performed well in front of six professional scouts at SFA's Pro Day, and then was asked to follow up and attend to Baylor's Pro Day — with many more scouts on hand — for further evaluation of him as a tight end prospect. His four-month leadup training had been to prep himself to audition at quarterback, but several organizations were intrigued by his multi-dimensional abilities and who was Conque to say no? And he didn't. Some prospects may be stubborn and fight it — Conque is wiser than that.
A two-star rated quarterback recruit coming out of Catholic H.S. in Little Rock, Ark., Conque originally committed to the FBS' Texas-San Antonio — also known as UTSA — in the summer of 2011. He also visited Middle Tennessee during his recruitment, and Toledo extended a scholarship offer — and his father, current SFA head coach Clint Conque, was the HC at Central Arkansas at that time so UCA was also an option. After two years at UTSA, Conque transferred to Stephen F. Austin and started for three years under his father — earning Southland All Conference honors all three seasons.
He admittedly dreamed about being an NFL player as far back as when he was five years old, but realistically he never planned on it — at least not as recently as a few years ago. But now, he's on the verge of being in an NFL camp, one way or another. He may get drafted, he may be a priority free agent pickup. Either way is fine. While he didn't feel comfortable discussing the actual teams he is in constant contact with — they exist.
Being the son of a Division I head football coach doesn't hurt, either.
"I couldn't have told you at 18 years old or 17 years old that this might happen," Conque said. "I was so naive. I just figured I would take on the world, then you get to college and it's an eye-opening experience. Looking back I couldn't have imagined being in the position I am in today. I've been blessed to have the college career I've had. I'm surviving day to day and I couldn't have imagined being here.
"It's my family, everybody, who helped."
ZACH CONQUE COLLEGE CAREER
(*) – At Texas-San Antonio. Redshirted 2012 season.