December 18, 2011

Four-star OL set to visit

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Ohio State's search for quality prospects at the offensive tackle position continues to broaden in recent weeks as new targets have been emerging. One of those new targets is four-star Windsor (Colo.) product Joey O'Connor. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound prospect recently de-committed from Penn State and has been in regular contact with the Ohio State coaching staff over the last week. The athletic lineman is set to make an official visit to Columbus on January 13th.

"Right now I'm just getting to know coach (Urban) Meyer," explained O'Connor. "I'm trying to figure out who the offensive line coach is going to be (at Ohio State) and try to build a relationship with whoever that is."

O'Connor and Meyer spoke over the phone numerous times recently as Ohio State tries to play catch-up in this recruitment.

"I talked to coach Meyer four times last week so we've been staying in touch," he said. "It's a dead period right now so we'll see what happens. He's ready to win a national championship and that's his goal and it should be every coach's goal. He's just basically saying that Ohio State is going to be one of the best programs in the nation. I like him a lot and I'm just trying to build a better relationship with him."

Meyer isn't the only Ohio State coach that O'Connor is establishing a relationship with. New offensive coordinator Tom Herman came by the school on Thursday.

"Coach Herman came by the school and my parents came by the school on their lunch hour so we got to talk with him," he said. "He's a great guy. He seems like a real genuine guy with a lot of energy. He's obviously new to the program and there are some things he couldn't tell us because of how new he is but just hearing his story on how coach Meyer chose him and everything, it was a great conversation. I look forward to talking to him some more."

Ohio State sits in the thick of a five-team race for O'Connor's services as he hopes to plan a few other official visits in addition to his trip to Columbus in mid-January.

"I'm looking at Ohio State, Iowa, Cal, TCU, and Boise State," he said. "Right now I don't know for sure but I'm thinking about Cal and Boise State and possibly TCU (for visits)."

O'Connor added that any other official visits would likely be taken after his trip to Ohio State and that a final decision could come at the end of January.

"It just kind of depends on my first couple visits," O'Connor said of a time-frame for a decision.

On the field, O'Connor is coming off of an outstanding senior season as he was able to end his high school career in style.

"It was good we ended up winning a state championship," he explained. "We had a real good season. We went 13-1 and the only team we lost to was the team we beat in the state championship so we got some revenge on them."

As one of the top rated offensive linemen in the nation, O'Connor says he brings a mean streak onto the playing field.

"I'm nasty," O'Connor said of his strengths on the field. "A lot of the guys say that I'm kind of a prick on the football but off the field, I'll be your best friend. I'm good at finishing blocks and just having that nastiness on the field and getting after it."

Linemen are typically slower in their development than skill players and with that in mind, O'Connor continues to focus on all areas of his game.

"Everything can be improved on," he said. "One thing that I want to work on, my team runs the triple-option, so my pass-blocking. Everything can be improved on but working on my footwork and technique and I'm trying to get faster and stronger in the off-season."


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