Any time a coaching change takes place at a college football program there are bound to be second thoughts for a number of key recruits. Following the departure of Bill O’Brien from Penn State to take over as head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans, one of Penn State’s key recruits in the Class of 2014 may be looking to re-open his recruitment with a month to go until National Signing Day.
According to a report by NJ.com, Florida quarterback Michael O’Connor has had what his mentor has called a terrible week and is not going to follow through on his original plan to enroll at Penn State in January. O’Connor is one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the Class of 2014 according to Rivals.com and his decision to hold off on enrolling early could open up more recruiting pitches from other programs. As NJ.com reports, Rutgers could remain in the mix despite previously losing his commitment when they filled their quarterback scholarship spot with another player.
Victor Tedondo, O’Connor’s mentor and founder of the Gridiron Academy told NJ.com O’Connor just wants to make sure he is in a stable environment after playing for multiple coaches over the last few years. This does not necessarily mean O’Connor will not end up at Penn State, but until the school makes a decision on a head coach to replace O’Brien it is very much up in the air whether or not he decides to stick with the Nittany Lions.
“He does not want to walk into a terrible situation,” Tedondo said. “He’s looking for a solid spot. He wants to go somewhere the coaching staff is stable.”
One of the schools who has already reached out to Tedondo about O’Connor is Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion Michigan State. Rutgers has already made a call about O’Connor. Tedondo did mention there is one coach in particular O’Connor feels comfortable with. Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, who is reportedly one of the top targets for the Penn State job, made a strong recruiting effort for O’Connor to join the Commodores. If Franklin were to be hired by Penn State, the chances O’Connor sticks with his previous commitment to the Nittany Lions would probably become more promising.
Whether O’Connor ends up at Penn State or not, and with whoever takes over the coaching job in State College,O’Connor would likely start out his career redshirting a year behind Christian Hackenberg, the Big Ten’s freshman offensive player of the year. Of course, that is assuming Hackenberg decides to stay at Penn State as well.