Portland QB motivated to achieve

Connor Kavanaugh is a 6-foot-1, 181-pound quarterback from Lincoln High School in Portland, Ore., and while his 2005 football season was a bittersweet one, it hasn't gotten him down. Instead, it's catalyzed Kavanaugh into working even harder to achieve his goals. One is to receive a D-I offer, and if that comes from the school his brother is at, well, so much the better.

Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Idaho, UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State comprise, in order, Kavanaugh's current top-7.

Portland State is the first team to have offered a scholarship. The Beavers and Huskies hold special interest for Kavanaugh.

"I've been to three practices and I'm planning on going to their spring game," he said of Oregon Syaye. His brother Taylor is a redshirt-freshman walk-on receiver for OSU. Connor admits that playing with his brother in college would be a difficult thing to pass up.

"Of course I'm always trying to look for the best opportunity for me, but going down there and playing with my brother would be the highlight of my life," he said.

And the Huskies? "I went to Washington's junior day and I was also at their last Monday practice," he said. "I really got to see the quality of the coaches and the players." But the biggest reason he's interested in the Huskies is because of the man leading the show. "It's Tyrone Willingham," added Kavanaugh. "Every time I talk to him, he impresses me more and more."

On Lincoln's 14-10 close shave against Jesuit in the Oregon State 4A championship game, Kavanaugh told Scout.com this week; "Playing the championship game at Autzen Stadium in front of 10,000 people, especially as a junior quarterback, I can go back to that experience and build on it for college," he said.

Lincoln came so close to winning that game, but Kavanaugh would rather focus on the positive aspects of the game. Kavanaugh had led the Cardinals to a 13-0 record to reach the state finals for the first time, after making the semifinals for the first time since 1954. "I learned how to compete and focus in that game," he said. "I'd like to go back there and play them and take it from them this time."

With that as motivation, Kavanaugh has started training this spring for football only, the first time he's done that. The bar has been set pretty high, though. In 2005, Kavanaugh threw for 3416 yards and 38 touchdowns, running for 420 more yards and eight scores, earning 4A State Player of the Year and first-team All-State honors. "I think I have a sneaky game," he said when asked to describe his style of play. "Five guys might be around me, but somehow I can sneak away from them. Some people have called me a gamer. I don't have the biggest arm and I don't really impress anybody until I step on the field."

Kavanaugh has one other goal he's hoping to reach. "My goal right now is to get a D1 offer," he said. To that end, he's working four days a week with Nike trainer Matt James at Velocity. "I've progressed by leaps and bounds," he added.

Connor got his first taste of early competition when he went down to the USC Elite 11 workout on April 15th. "It was a good experience," he said. "I never really thought that I would be considered one of the Elite 11, my goal was to get my name out there."

Being an in-state product, it's not surprising that Kavanaugh looks to a former in-state college quarterback for inspiration. In this case, it's former Oregon State walk-on Jonathan Smith, who currently coaches quarterbacks at Idaho under Dennis Erickson. "I've always been a big fan," Kavanaugh said. "He's been a big inspiration to me. Last year he came by and talked to us for about 20 minutes, it was really inspirational."

Kavanaugh will be attending Nike camps at Stanford (May 13th) and Oregon (June 10th) and plans on hitting camps at Washington, Oregon State, Idaho and Washington State in June.

Connor Kavanaugh profile

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