The University of British Columbia is set hold a pro day on April 4 and Canadian quarterback Michael O’Connor will be the centre of attention.
O’Connor played in the FCS Bowl during the month of December, completing 9-of-12 passes for 70 yards and has been training at IMG Academy in Florida. The Ottawa native has prototypical quarterback size: six-foot-five, 225 pounds and has been productive wherever he’s played.
O’Connor threw 51 touchdown passes in Grade 10 at Ashbury College, attended Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee and moved on to play at IMG Academy in Florida under the tutelage of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Chris Weinke. He led the team to an 8-2 record in 2013 throwing for 1,804 yards and 18 touchdowns in 10 games. He was the No. 6 ranked high school quarterback by ESPN and played in the Under Armour All-American Game, the only Canadian prospect to be invited that year.
Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, who spent time as Tom Brady’s quarterback’s coach and offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, recruited O’Connor and wanted him to play in his pro-style offence. But before O’Connor arrived on campus, O’Brien left the Nittany Lions to accept the Houston Texans head coaching job.
James Franklin took over as head coach and Christian Hackenberg was the starter until he was picked in the second round by the New York Jets in the 2016 NFL draft. Despite O’Connor going 11-for-16 for 81 yards in Penn State’s spring game, he redshirted in 2014 and then transferred to the University of British Columbia. Year one with the Thunderbirds saw O’Connor light up defences while leading the team to a National Championship in 2015.
Defensive lineman Connor Griffiths and defensive back Stavros Katsantonis are also going to perform for NFL and CFL scouts.
Griffiths is a dynamic interior defender and load in the middle. There has been buzz about Griffiths drawing NFL interest due to his size and physicality. Lining up against NCAA talent at the College Gridiron Showcase in January, Griffiths was stout and showed well.
Katsantonis – the Bakersfield bandit – has been a first-team All-Canadian three straight years. Despite being undersized, Katsantonis finds the football with natural instincts.
O’Connor is the draw for NFL scouts, but Griffiths and Katsantonis could capitalize on the opportunity in front of scouts.