Penn State is beginning to stockpile highly-rated quarterbacks.
Four-star QB Michael O'Connor is commit No. 11 for Penn State in 2014.
On Saturday afternoon, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy four-star signal-caller Michael O'Connor became the latest, announcing his pledge for the Nittany Lions while back home in Ottawa surrounded by family and friends.
"First off they have a great business program," O'Connor said. He visited the campus in the spring. "I'll get a great education there regardless of what happens on the field. The coaching with Coach (Bill) O'Brien, he does a great job with quarterbacks and they run a pro-style offense."
Ranked by the 247Composite as the nation’s No. 12 pro-style passer, the 6-foot-4, 223-pound O’Connor becomes the 11th pledge for Coach O’Brien and his staff in the class-of-2014. Last year, O’Brien secured signatures from five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg and four-star JUCO standout Tyler Ferguson.
"I'll have chance to compete, that's what Coach O'Brien said and that's all I can ask," O'Connor said.
Besides Penn State, O’Connor had scholarships from Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Rutgers and South Florida.
O’Connor got his start with the Gridiron Academy in Canada as a seven-year old. Beginning as an eighth grader, he traveled to numerous college camps, combines and 7-on-7s to improve as a player and gain experience and exposure. O’Connor moved to the United States and played his junior year at The Baylor School in Tennessee before transferring to IMG Academy for the upcoming fall.
“It’s really hard for kids to make it out of Canada at any position, but even harder from the quarterback position,” Gridiron Academy’s Victor Tedondo said. “Canada is not known for producing great quarterbacks. The last quarterback to come out of here and go to the NFL was Jesse Palmer.
“Penn State is not only getting a great quarterback but a great kid. I don’t know if I know anyone that works harder than him. Michael is not scared of competition. He thinks he’s underrated. He’s always come from the bottom. He doesn’t care who’s in front of him. People say they have Christian Hackenberg all the time. He doesn’t care. The way he looks at it, anywhere he goes he has to compete. He chose Penn State also because of the school and what he’ll be getting out of Coach O’Brien.”
O'Connor said he knew he was Penn State bound about two weeks ago. He expects to see several from Canada make the seven-hour drive to Happy Valley for games.
"I was leaning towards Penn State for awhile," he said. "That was a bonus my family could come and watch and be close to home too."