Texas A&M senior Connor Lanfear excited for final three home games

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) runs behind the blocking of offensive lineman Connor Lanfear for a 9-yard touchdown run against Florida during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Texas A&M offensive lineman Connor Lanfear has become accustomed to waiting.

In fact, it's his favorite way to spend a weekend.

Two weeks ago during A&M's open weekend, Lanfear went deep in the woods with a hunting rifle and a fishing rod in tow.

"I just love being outside and being away from the developed world," he said. "I'm not really happy until I'm out of cell phone range and no one can get a hold of me and bug me."

Practiced in the fine art of patience as a hunter and angler, Lanfear also has spent a significant amount of toe-tapping as a college football player. Two serious injuries in his four years in Aggieland have kept the former four-star recruit from Buda Hays sidelined, waiting for his time to return.

But the senior is healthy now and will make his second start of the season at 11 a.m. Saturday when the Aggies return to Kyle Field to host Ole Miss.

Lanfear played in 12 of 13 games as a true freshman in 2015. That momentum carried into his sophomore season, when he started the first eight games and helped A&M average 234 rushing yards per game.

But the Aggies trip to Starkville, Mississippi, that season proved to be a damaging affair. After quarterback Trevor Knight left the game with a shoulder injury, Lanfear suffered the first and worst injury of his college career -- tears of his ACL, MCL and meniscus. He missed the remainder of the season after having surgery to repair the damage.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound lineman worked his way back to health and the starting lineup in 11 games last season, but during practice for the Belk Bowl he suffered another injury that required surgery. An Aggie linebacker blew through a running back and caused both players to fall on the back of his leg, Lanfear said. The result was a major injury to the ankle of the same leg he injured in 2016.

Both injuries left Lanfear a much different player than when he arrived at A&M.

"I can't move or bend as well as I used to," Lanfear said. "My right leg isn't quite as strong as my left leg anymore either. There's a lot of notable physical drawbacks I've had from my surgeries, but I'm giving it the best I've got and trying to get my job done for the guy next to me."

What used to be an easy effort to make a backside block for Lanfear now takes a full cut block, he said. His limitations pushed sophomore Jared Hocker into the starting lineup over Lanfear this season, but Hocker suffered an injury at Mississippi State. Lanfear finally returned to first-team action last Saturday in Auburn.

"It was great," head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He's a great young man, getting healthy enough to get back and help us and play and did some really good things in the game. He was a big part."

With Hocker out this Saturday, Lanfear will reprise his starting role with the chance to finish his senior season with plenty of playing time at his home stadium. Fisher said Hocker's status is week-to-week.

"I support those guys in front of me and my teammates in the O-line room all the way, and I'm cheering for them the whole time through," Lanfear said. "I'm sorry that they've gotten injured, and I hope they recover fully very soon, but getting the opportunity to finish out my senior year what I think would be the right way, which is starting the last couple of games in Kyle Field, means everything to me. I can't wait to hopefully come away with those wins."

Beyond football, Lanfear served an internship with Texas Parks and Wildlife and believes he could have a future as a game warden. He also said he has a connection with the Outdoor Channel that could turn into a means of income. Lanfear co-hosted a 12th Man Productions podcast earlier this season, sparking his interested in broadcasting.

Unlike many on A&M's roster, Lanfear said he knows his football dreams will end after the Aggies' regular season finale against LSU and a potential bowl game. However, he hopes to continue living his best life out in some wilderness devoid of a cell phone signal.

"The fact that I'm getting back into it in my final three games here at Kyle Field means the world to me, and I think I'm getting to finish out my senior year the right way," Lanfear said.

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