May 26, 2010

O'Connor surprised by CSU offer

Growing up in Big Ten Country Tinley Park (Ill.) defensive end Chris O'Connor saw his fair share of quality football. Last fall, O'Connor showed he was capable of producing quality football of his own and it has led to four scholarship offers.

The Andrew High School product measures 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds and claims impressive bench press (285) and squat (435) numbers. Last season O'Connor managed 45 tackles, nine sacks, nine pass deflections and one forced fumble en route to his being named All-Conference for Andrew High School.

"Coaches say I never stop going, I have a high-motor, I have a good first punch and I am quick off the ball," O'Connor said.

Thanks to a 4.0 grade-point average, O'Connor is hearing from most of the Ivy League as well as Wisconsin, Michigan State and Northwestern, while Illinois, North Dakota State, Air Force and Colorado State have all offered full scholarships.

"I am looking for a place that has the academic field I want which is civil engineering," O'Connor said. "They have to have a good atmosphere for me and a pretty good football team. We play a 4-4, so anything with four defensive linemen would be fine with me. I also want a coach you could talk to - not one that would just scream and yell, but one that would listen to what you had to say."

Distance won't be a factor for O'Connor, who has already managed to take visits to Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan State. While he grew up a Big Ten fan (he says not necessarily an Illinois fan), he is excited at the prospect of playing in the conference, but is also looking at at least one Mountain West Conference institution - Colorado State. Pat Meyer is in charge of recruiting the Chicagoland area for Colorado State and has been in contact with O'Connor.

"He (Meyer) has told me there is a dean there that is the head of engineering who was a football player and he helps out football players," O'Connor said. "My cousin goes to Colorado on vacation every year and she tells me it is a nice place. I have never seen mountains before, I've always seen flatlands and hills. I am planning to go out there for an official or an unofficial."

O'Connor added that he was surprised to learn the Rams were offering him a scholarship. He said the Ram coaches came to his school on a day when he wasn't there and offered a couple weeks later after watching tape.

"I didn't know they even liked me," O'Connor said. "I guess they came in, watched my film and they liked it."

For now, the Andrew defensive end is in no hurry to make a college choice.

"I am keeping my options open and they look good to me," he said.

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