Pro-style freshman QB Michael O’Connor may very well be the jewel of the freshman class. He was a highly touted recruit by the Bill O’Brien staff. O’Connor chose Penn State over fellow Big Ten school Michigan State. Last season, under the tutelage of former Florida State Seminole and Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, O’Connor led the IMG Academy to an 8-2 record throwing for just over 1,800 yards, and 18 TD passes. His poise in the pocket and his decision-making skills while under duress have been mentioned as some of his best attributes as well as his arm strength.
Penn State will be led at the quarterback position by Big Ten Freshman of the Year Christian Hackenberg with sophomores DJ Crook and Austin Whipple as the backups. The most likely scenario would be to have Michael O’Connor redshirt this season, allowing him to be 2 years clear of Hackenberg, and have two years to be the Penn State starter. However if Hackenberg were to get injured, it is not inconceivable that O’Connor could be called upon to take over the starting job.