|School:||Strath Haven High School, Wallingford, PA|
Dan Connor was one of the major reasons Strath Haven was able to gain 14 straight victories before ultimately losing in the Class AAA State Championship game. Even in the disappointing loss to Hopewell Dan registered 21 tackles and added an interception.
He describes his style of play as "an old-fashioned style, hard-nosed football type style". Those that have seen him play cannot disagree with that assessment.
The big linebacker/fullback rushed for over 1,500 yards this season and scored 29 touchdowns. On defense, he had more than 160 tackles to go along with 3 interceptions. Scholarship offers have already begun to pour in for the outstanding junior.
"The first school to offer was West Virginia right after sophomore season," Dan said, "then Penn State, actually during camp this past summer.
"I have up around 8 right now: Penn State, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Notre Dame, Pitt and Syracuse," Dan said. "I have about 5 or 6 that have been Fed Ex'd and two of them were over the phone because I'm going to take visits coming up within a month to talk to the coaches."
He is primarily being recruited as a linebacker, although Dan believes Syracuse may be interested in him as a fullback.
"Some colleges like me at middle linebacker and some like me on the outside. I really have no preference, inside or outside, offense or defense, it really doesn't matter as long as I can get on the field.
"I haven't really taken many visits yet. I'm thinking about the Spring, during Spring Break, taking about 5 or 6 visits around to the colleges I'm interested in.
"I went on a few visits with my brothers when they were seniors and juniors just to see the campuses, but nothing for myself in a pretty long time except for camp at Penn State."
Dan's older brothers were also standouts at Strath Haven and both continued their football careers at the next level.
"Jim is at Boston College. He is going into his fifth year because he redshirted. Mike's at Lehigh."
Dan attended summer camp at Penn State before his junior season last year and before his freshman season two years prior. The Nittany Lion coaching staff is recruiting him to play linebacker. Dan believes PSU is looking at him to play inside linebacker.
"I'm going to Penn State on Thursday (with his parents) to meet Coach Paterno and some of the guys."
It's obvious that Penn State is very interested in Connor.
"I hope so, it's a great college and I really like it up there. I'm just going to meet some new guys and tour around the place and see how I like it.
"When you go to camp, you see the complex, all the practice fields and the game field, but I'd like to see the behind-the-scenes stuff like the locker room and some other things a little closer."
Dan was also able to attend his first and only Penn State game last year.
"They invited me up to the Nebraska game, the night game. That was something else."
Dan is close friends with Lenny Carter, who is headed to Syracuse, and Josh Hannum, who is a freshman wide-receiver at Penn State.
"Lenny, Josh and I were real tight. We all lifted together throughout high school, so we're pretty close. Lenny's trying to get me to go to Syracuse and Josh is trying to get me to go to Penn State," he joked.
"Both places are unbelievable schools and the coaching staffs have been real nice so far so it's going to be a tough decision."
Connor got the chance to meet several members of the Nittany Lion coaching staff while at Penn State's camp this summer.
"Yeah, most of them. Coach Vanderlinden, the linebacker coach, Coach Bradley, the D-Coordinator and Coach Ganter the Offensive Coordinator, I talked to them and just anyone that was up there. Coach Vanderlinden was showing me around different places and introducing me to people."
Does he have an early favorite?
"Not really, noone's in the lead right now, maybe Penn State a little bit just because it's sort of a hometown favorite, you grow up as a Pennsylvania player looking up to Penn State. I should know a lot after my visits and meeting different coaches and talking to them. It's still a little bit early to point out any favorites."
Will he be attending any junior days in the near future?
"I've been invited to a few of them, but I'm not sure. I think next Saturday I'm going to go to Maryland to meet the coach there and other than that I'm not sure. It's almost a day-to-day thing right now. Coaches will call in and just see what my story is. Usually they'll either talk to Coach Clancy or my dad (Jim Connor, the Defensive Coordinator at Strath Haven)."