HIGH SCHOOL: San Juan Hills high school (Cali.)
SENIOR HONORS: Invite to Elite 11 Finals, First team All-South Coast League, QB MVP honors at the SoCal Opening Regional Camp
CAREER STATS: In two seasons O’Brien threw for nearly 5,000 yards and 44 touchdowns, adding another 1,266 yards on the ground with 22 touchdowns. Both were school records. His completion percentage his senior year was in the upper 70s.
THE LOWDOWN: His recruitment took longer than expected to take off, but quarterback Patrick O’Brien was thankful for his first offer back in April. It obviously made a lasting impression. It was from the University of Nebraska.
“I go back with his head coach a ways. He really spoke highly of him,” said Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf. “We watched a lot of film on him. He hadn’t played a ton – only his junior year. A lot of these guys are three-year starters, even four. So he didn’t have a ton of film, but we watched all of his games last year - probably more than once.”
Langsdorf liked what he saw - a quarterback who had good size and could make all the throws. A quarterback who was smart enough to handle the system the staff was implementing.
“I told him, ‘we were the first ones to find you and believed in you.’ I thought that would go a long ways in recruiting him,” said Langsdorf. “I told him, ‘when we offer you, you are going to get more offers.’ I told him that is how it works. People jump on it. He believed me.”
Langsdorf was right. The offers did come.
It didn’t matter. After visiting in the spring O’Brien committed. The staff’s eagerness to jump in on him early played a huge part in the decision.
“Anytime you are that first offer, you have to put yourself out there a little bit,” said Langsdorf. “It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of a guy who has ten offers, but when you are the first one, you have to make sure you are right. We did a lot of homework. We felt good about him. He was our type of guy. I didn’t even think we were taking a chance; we just needed to go for it.
O’Brien called it a perfect fit.
"I love the coaching staff and the offense they're putting in,” said O’Brien. “It fits me really well and I know I can have a lot of success in it. They have an NFL background and of course that's every player's dream, to get to that next level.”
WHY NEBRASKA: "I love the tradition and passion everyone has at Nebraska. The campus is incredible, I loved the facilities, the best I've ever seen and I think the depth chart sets up well for me too.”
WHO OFFERED HIM: Colorado, Colorado State, Texas Tech, and UNLV.
SCOUT.COM RATING: 4-star (No. 17 QB/No. 298 overall)
BRR PROJECTION: Nebraska has had their share of four-star quarterback busts in the last 20 years, but something tells us O’Brien is different. An early enrollee, our sources tell us the staff is very hopeful O’Brien comes in to spring, learns quickly and in fall camps gives Armstrong everything he can handle to retain his job. The thing to remember - O’Brien fits the offense this staff wants to run. Armstrong is running a hybrid of it. Talk of a three-year starter being beat out is sort of crazy talk, but it’s something to watch. From what we have been told, the staff won’t be afraid to sit the Texas native if he is beaten out - even if he has the major experience factor. Armstrong has struggled to take care of the football. After starting for nearly three seasons, is it going to get better? Taking care of the football is something Patrick O'Brien tried to take a lot of pride in this season.
SCOUT THOUGHTS: "He's a pure pocket passer with great and pocket mobility, a strong, downfield arm and great touch on the deep ball,” said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins. “He does a nice job feeling pressure, not panicking but stepping up in to the pocket or buying time outside of it and making a strong, accurate throw. He has a quick release and can set himself and throw as quick as anyone."