O'Brien isn't just all brains. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound quarterback can make all the necessary throws and will gain yards with his legs.
"He's got a great arm," Willert said. "… He's very coachable, has great intangibles, and he's very athletic."
Last season, O'Brien completed 151-of-248 passes (61-percent) for 1,757 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also scored seven touchdowns on the ground.
O'Brien is a self-proclaimed "pass-first" quarterback, but has worked this offseason to improve his running ability.
"Next year I really want to be able to run the ball a lot more and make some more plays on my feet, as well as improve our passing game," O'Brien said.
Although he has yet to receive his first scholarship offer, O'Brien is fielding strong interest from Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, Northwestern, and Wake Forest.
"Clemson is pretty close [to offering], I think, and Duke – at one point they sent me 15 hand written letters from all the coaches and they wrote my mom ten times in the same day – I think they're the closest to offering right now," O'Brien said. "A lot of schools want to see me in camp first. They like what they see on film, they just want to see me up close."
"For the quarterback it's a little bit different," Willert said. "They want to see you come down and perform in front of them."
UNC is among the schools that want to evaluate O'Brien in person.
"Coach [John] Shoop said they're not going to offer a pure quarterback until after camp," O'Brien said. "He basically said that everyone is going to come to camp. And then [they will] work them all out and then make a decision after that."
In Butch Davis' first two recruiting classes, he has signed one quarterback each year. That trend will continue with the 2009 class.
"Coach Shoop said he wants to bring in one a year," O'Brien said.
O'Brien is amidst preparing for a lengthy summer camping schedule. He says he'll definitely make stops at Clemson, Duke, Maryland, and UNC, and is also considering camping at South Carolina.
The spring has been a good precursor for O'Brien's busy summer. He has already unofficially visited Clemson, Duke, Maryland, UNC, South Carolina, and Wake Forest, and will revisit Duke on March 29th for their junior day.
O'Brien returned from Maryland Sunday afternoon.
"It went real well," O'Brien said. "I really didn't know what to expect, because I hadn't really toured anything up there. But I really liked it up there. I liked the area… I came away pretty impressed."
A couple of days prior, O'Brien was in Chapel Hill attending UNC's spring practice.
"I like how he's real hands on – he's in there," O'Brien said of Shoop. "All the coaches are the same way at Carolina – they really get at it, and I really like that about all of them including Shoop."
Following practice, O'Brien spoke to both Shoop, UNC's quarterback coach, and Steve Hagen, UNC's area recruiter.
"They said they're still very excited about recruiting me," O'Brien said. "But it's the same thing as always – he's been straight forward with me as far as I need to get to camp so they can see me throw in person."
Although he's interested in several schools, O'Brien won't name a leader until the offers begin to roll in.
"Right now, everyone is pretty much even until the offers start coming in," O'Brien said. "But I really feel comfortable at Clemson, Duke, and UNC and Maryland, right now. Right now, everyone is basically even. I don't really have a leader."
During last Thursday's unofficial visit to UNC, O'Brien's teammate and close friend David Collins verbally committed to the Tar Heels.
"I think it's a definite plus having David there," O'Brien said. "We're so tight on and off the field. It would be pretty awesome to go to school with him.
"But in the end, it's going to come down to the best place for me and the best place for him; if it happens to be the same school that would be a perk."
Whoever lands O'Brien, Willart feels, is getting a steal.
"Danny has a lot of ability; he just needs that one person to see his intangibles," Willert said. "But he'll go somewhere, and he'll make somebody very happy and make some other people very unhappy that they didn't take the time to actually offer him."
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