January 9, 2014
Is O'Connor on the radar?
A few weeks ago Head Coach Mark Dantonio was asked if the Spartans would pursue a quarterback for the class of 2014 after the departure of Chris Durkin. His response was that only if the right candidate were to be there. Michael O'Connor of IMG Academy in Florida is the "rights" candidate.
This past winter the Spartans extend scholarship offers to four high-level quarterback prospects, Chris Durkin, Michael O'Connor, Caleb Henderson and DeShone Kizer. The staff was willing accept a commitment from the first player who jumped on the offer. Durkin decided he did not want to miss his chance and he verbally accepted the offer to become a Spartan in late March.
O'Connor kept his options open and the 6-foot-5, 223-pound Canadian eventually committed to Coach Bill O'Brien and Penn State in the summer.
Fast forward 8 months: Chirs Durkin decided he did not want to have to compete with Connor Cook and Coach O'Brien decided he would take the job as head coach of the Houston Texans.
O'Connor subsequently decided that he would take a wait and see approach due to the Penn State coaching search. The Lions are hoping to name a head coach within the next few days.
We reached out to O'Connor to see if he had heard from the Spartans and he indicated that Michigan State has been in contact with him since the departure of Coach O'Brien. He also indicated that the Spartans have invited him to take an official visit to Michigan State University.
The weekend the staff has invited O'Connor to East Lansing is January 24th-26th. That is the same weekend the staff will have the majority of committed player from the class of 2014 on campus. That makes sense because if O'Connor were to decide to change his commitment he would certainly want an opportunity to meet as many future teammates as possible.
Matt Dorsey's Take:
Penn State will be looking to hold onto O'Connor commitment and the new Head Coach will certainly reach out to him as soon as he is hired. The Spartans do have a few positives going for them when it comes to recruiting O'Connor. First, he has been on campus before and developed rapport with several Spartan coaches. Second, the fact that Connor Cook will be a junior this means that the starting spot at Michigan State will likely open up a year before it will at Penn State (unless Christian Hackenberg decides to run pro early). In addition, Penn State still has 2-years left on a post-season bowl ban. The opportunity to play in big bowl games and potentially compete for a national title could also benefit the Spartans chances.
SpartanMag.com scouted O'Connor several times at the Sound Mind-Sound Body and Spartan Camp. We indicated in our evaluation that we believed he could potentially be the top quarterback prospect in the nation for the class of 2015. This spring O'Connor re-classified himself to the class of 2014. Despite the move up, he is still is one of the best quarterback prospects in the nation.
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