Michael O’Connor is used to change.
A year ago, O’Connor moved down from Ontario, Canada to attend Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn., as a 2015 quarterback. He saw his recruitment explode by hitting the college camp circuit last summer.
“I got my first five offers in the span of four days,” the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder said. “It all happened really quickly.
“It’s crazy. It feels real good, but the more you get, the more you want. It’s funny how it works. I’m just trying to stay focused and keep working hard and I know good things will come in the future.”
O’Connor walked away from camps at Michigan State and Vanderbilt with offers and is currently up to eight offers with Rutgers, South Florida and Mississippi State among the others.
O’Connor has made a couple other changes in the last couple months, transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and reclassifying as a 2014 prospect on track to graduate early. The move to IMG should accelerate O’Connor’s adjustment in the States.
“In terms of dedication to football here, it’s crazy,” O’Connor said of IMG. “You need to be really dedicated and have a strong passion. It kind of feels like college in a sense.”
O’Connor got an up-close look at some of the game’s best when IMG hosted 2013 NFL Draft prospects recently.
“I got to watch Geno Smith, Tyler Wilson and Matt Barkley throw,” O’Connor said. “Being in this atmosphere and environment has been really beneficial for me.”
O’Connor, who again shined at the Nike Football Training Camp in Orlando this past weekend, says the last year has been “crazy.”
“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said. “A lot of people can get caught up in the recruiting process and get stressed out, so I’m just trying to enjoy the ride. I’m trying to let it roll how it rolls, go with the process and see where it takes me.”
Right now, that process includes several schools that haven’t pulled the trigger just yet, but have been showing serious interest, schools like Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Michigan and Purdue among several others.
“I’ll be visiting Penn State in a few weeks, so that’s definitely one school,” he said. “I plan on visiting Notre Dame too; I’ve got to talk to Coach (Mike) Denbrock about that. Arkansas and UCLA have been recruiting me too.”
Denbrock is hoping to secure a stop South Bend on O’Connor’s travel schedule.
“He just said he wants to get me out to campus,” the quarterback said of Denbrock. “He speaks a lot with my trainer back home in Canada. I try not to ask him too much because I don’t want to get a big head or get too caught up in the whole thing. I know they’re interested and it’s mutual, so that’s good.
“The academics there are amazing. The history of quarterback play there is amazing. With Gunner Kiel planning on transferring, that looks favorable for a 2014 quarterback.”
O’Connor is set to make a visit to Michigan State at the end of this month and could arrange a stop at Notre Dame while he’s in the Midwest.
“I’m just looking to see the campus and talk to the coaches, maybe go watch a practice if I could,” he said. “I just want to stop there and see what Notre Dame is all about.”
O’Connor isn’t going to rush a decision, but admits that one will come relatively soon.
“If it’s the right school, I think it could be within the next month,” he said. “It could be three months, I couldn’t really say right now. But I definitely want to commit before the summer so I can help the school out with recruiting a little bit.
“I’m just looking for a team that’s honest with me and upfront. I’m looking for a team that runs a pro-style offense that likes to throw a lot and a school with great academics and a school that would give me an opportunity to play.”