Canadian QB picks PSU
Bill O’Brien’s track record with quarterbacks has attracted another of the best prospects at the position to Penn State.
Except this time it’s not just one of the best in the country, it’s one of the best in North America.
Canadian Michael O’Connor, a 6-foot-5, 223-pound senior ranked the third-best pocket passer in the 2014 recruiting class by ESPN, verbally committed to O’Brien’s Nittany Lions around midday Saturday near his home in Ottawa.
A consensus four-star prospect, O’Connor picked Penn State from a list of college offers that included Michigan State, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Missouri, South Florida, Southern Mississippi, Buffalo, Toledo and Akron.
“It was the best fit for me, great academics, great football program, great coaching, high-character teammates and just felt like home,” O’Connor said.
While O’Connor is from north of the border, he’s made a name for himself playing in the United States, first on the camp circuit and then last fall when he guided Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn. to an 8-4 record and around 30 points per game. He has since transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he is being coached by Florida State Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke.
“Michael possesses all the qualities you look for in an elite student-athlete – he’s the ultimate leader on and off the football field,” Weinke said. “As with everything he does, he approached the recruiting process very seriously and has landed on an excellent option for his talents. I am excited about the opportunity to coach Michael during his senior year and continue to help him develop as he makes that transition to big time D-I football.”
As a sophomore at Asbury College school in Ontario, O’Connor threw for 51 touchdown passes and only was intercepted seven times. Although considered a pro-style passer, he also was athletic enough to run the 300-meter hurdles that year in 41.93 seconds, placing 11th in the province.
When O’Connor originally arrived in the U.S. he was expected to be a Class of 2015 recruit, but he got himself reclassified to 2014. He’ll join current sophomore Tyler Ferguson and incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg – considered by some the top QB in the 2013 recruiting class – as scholarship quarterbacks on the Penn State roster next season.
O’Connor is the 11th recruit to commit to Penn State for 2014. Because of NCAA sanctions, the Nittany Lions only are allowed to sign 15 players in February.