(ISN) – VANCOUVER — Former Penn State quarterback Michael O’Connor will transfer to UBC and has committed to play for the Thunderbirds beginning in the fall of 2015.
In just over a month on the job, new UBC head football coach Blake Nill is wasting little time putting together his team for the 2015 season. His biggest coup no doubt is the commitment of O’Connor, who was ranked the No. 6 quarterback by ESPN in the entire 2014 recruiting class.
“Having Michael, who was recognized as one of the this year’s top NCAA transfer prospects, commit to UBC over countless offers speaks volumes to the academic reputation of this university and the culture we are building with the Thunderbirds football program,” said Nill.
A native of Ottawa, O’Connor played his final two years of high school football in the United States. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 230 pounds, he played his junior season at the Baylor School in Tennessee, before attending the renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he played under the tutelage of former Heisman Trophy Winner Chris Weinke.
He led IMG to an 8-2 record in 2013 throwing for 1,804 yards and 18 touchdowns in 10 games. He was named an Under Armour All-American.
“Michael is an outstanding, pro-style quarterback,” said Nill. “He is very intelligent player whom is confident in his ability. He can make all the throws and will come into compete and raise the bar at the quarterback position here at UBC.”
After receiving multiple scholarship offers out of high school from the likes of Michigan State, Mississippi State, Rutgers, and Vanderbilt, O’Connor chose Penn State. He was originally recruited by Bill O’Brien, who would leave the Nittany Lions to take the Houston Texans head coaching job before O’Connor’s first season.
Despite O’Brien’s departure, O’Connor stayed with Penn State and new head coach James Franklin. In last year’s spring game, O’Connor finished 11-for-16 for 81 yards. However, he would be relegated to third-string in 2014 and officially was a red-shirt. He will have all five years of eligibility with the Thunderbirds and can play immediately.
“I came in with the mandate to change the culture and take the UBC football program to another level,” said Nill. “In terms of recruiting, our goal is to be the top destination for student-athletes not only in British Columbia, but from across Canada. Getting Michael to join our program is the first step to reaching that goal.”
O’Connor and the Thunderbirds will open the 2015 season in Quebec City with an exhibition game against Laval University on August 29.