Michael O'Connor talks academics, football


Michael O'Connor has a pretty good idea what he wants out of a college, even if he is just a sophomore.

"One of the things that's most important to me is the academics," the quarterback from Chattanooga (Tenn.) Baylor said. "I want to go somewhere where I can be able to succeed in the classroom and I'd also like to play in a pro-style offense, a team that likes to pass a lot and a good relationship with the coaches as well, that's real important to me [and] how we communicate."

Academics will play a key role in O'Connor's recruitment. He said he'd like to attend a very strong academic institution.

"I'd love to go to Stanford, a school with that kind of academics, or Notre Dame," O'Connor said when asked of possible examples. "Just meeting with the coaches, some stress more about the classroom and they give your more academic support. That's really important to me. Being a Div-I football player these days, it takes a lot of your time. You need someone to stay on top of your stuff for you to help you out. I think that's one things that's real important to me."

That support, however, will be just part of the equation. The transfer from Canada has also grown to appreciate the passion of football in the southeast. He has shown strong interest in Alabama, where he plans to visit later this fall.

"It's the heart of SEC football," O'Connor said of living in Chattanooga. "Three hours from Bama. Three hours from Auburn. Two hours from Vanderbilt. Two hours from Tennessee. Just being able to go to a bunch of SEC football games and the fact that it's southern football. It's as good as it get."

Admittedly, O'Connor said he didn't know much about college football conferences when he transferred to the U.S. When asked of his impression of the conference makeup, he said, "Just coming down here, I realize how serious they take football down here and the appreciation they have for the sport. I'm really liking it."

Elite academics and elite football will play a role in O'Connor's recruitment. To what extent each plays a factor remains to be seen.