Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ohio State Post-Signing Day — 2012 Buckeye Commit, OG Joey O'Connor

One by one, we will be video-profiling each member of the Buckeyes 2012 recruiting class.

With several key losses from the 2011 offensive line, signing some of the nation's best o-lineman was clearly on the mind of coach Urban Meyer and his staff.

He and the Buckeyes made a significant addition to the o-line with the signing of 3-star OG Joey O'Connor from Windsor, Colorado.

The 6-4, 295 O'Connor is tenacious, hard-nosed, and just the type of player needed in Columbus if the Buckeyes are to have continued success up front in the trenches against the rest of the Big Ten.

Originally a Penn State verbal, everything changed when the Jerry Sandusky scandal and subsequent firing of Joe Paterno unfolded.

While O'Connor says he will always love what Penn State used to be, he's very happy with his choice to move forward at Ohio State.

A little bit about how his journey was forged from Windsor, CO to Columbus, OH can be found in this excerpt from the Denver Post.

Joey O'Connor found exactly what he was looking for in a recruiting trip to Penn State last June.

Then, On Nov. 5, a Saturday, the O'Connor family was watching TV when they noticed a crawl across the bottom of the screen making reference to child sexual abuse and the Penn State football program.

Within a week, O'Connor would decommit, his world turned upside down, not sure who he would be casting his lot with come Feb. 1, national signing day. He would eventually land at Ohio State, but not before his reopened recruitment exploded.

In late November, Ohio State hired Urban Meyer, the former Florida coach. Within a week, he was on phone with O'Connor. It was the one coach O'Connor had been waiting to hear from.

Meyer told O'Connor the Buckeyes coaching staff loved the way he played and would be going after him hard. A few days later, a member of Meyer's staff came for a visit.

A week after that game (the 2011 Under-Armor All-American game) he took his official visit to Ohio State. His only other visit had been to Penn State. And, when O'Connor went there last September, Joey was already committed - so, in a sense, he wasn't being wooed. At Ohio State, he was wooed.

More importantly, he found a comfort level with Meyer in a one-on-one breakfast during his visit to Columbus, Ohio.

The academic piece also aligned nicely: Ohio State has a top-tier criminal justice program, and O'Connor wants to go into law enforcement.

"What Penn State used to be will always be my No. 1. Always," O'Connor said. "So I felt, when I was (at Ohio State), that this was the closest I'm going to get to what my No. 1 was. So I figured, why look anywhere else.

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