The first major decommitment from Penn State’s 2014 recruiting class looks like it’s coming soon. Late last night, NJ.com reported that four-star Florida quarterback recruit Michael O’Connor has decided to delay his enrollment to the university. The 6’6″, 223 lb. prospect from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida was scheduled to start classes at Penn State in 10 days, but a delayed enrollment essentially re-opens his recruitment.
O’Connor has been committed to Penn State since June, and is the ninth best pro-style quarterback and the 192nd overall player in the country.
This would be the first official decommitment since Bill O’Brien decided he was decommitting himself three days ago. To add insult to injury, wide receiver Allen Robinson announced yesterday that be will forego his final year of eligibility for the NFL.
Prior to his commitment to Penn State, O’Connor held offers from several major programs, including Michigan State, Missouri, Rutgers, and Vanderbilt. He was also recruited by schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, and UCLA, but none of them offered him a scholarship.
“It’s been a terrible week for him, to be honest with you,” O’Connor’s mentor Victory Tedondo said to NJ.com. “There have been a lot of distractions. He’s a kid who left home at 15 years old and he’s been a lot of different places with different coaching staffs. He pushed himself and took extra classes last summer to graduate early because his intention was to go to Penn State in January. And obviously, it once again didn’t work out.”
Tendono also said that O’Connor — whose lead recruiter, Charlie Fisher, is no longer with the program — has been preoccupied with the Under Armour All-American Game in Florida this past week, so he hasn’t had the chance to really sit down and plan things, just that he is delaying his enrollment to any university until June.
“He does not want to walk into a terrible situation,” Tedondo said. “He does not want to transfer. He has been to three schools in four years…He’s looking for a solid spot. He wants to go somewhere the coaching staff is stable.”
Of course, losing O’Connor has the potential to be devastating. Backup QB Tyler Ferguson already transferred, which makes Christian Hackenberg the only scholarship quarterback on the roster (and we’re not even completely out of the woods on that one yet). While it’s unlikely at this juncture, the thought of Penn State losing Hackenberg, Ferguson, and O’Connor within the span of a few months would be disastrous.
Luckily, Penn State’s 2014 class should get an answer to their questions soon, as AD Dave Joyner says the search committee will try to have a new coach hired “in days.” We can only hope that whoever he is, he can convince both quarterbacks to stay in Happy Valley.