Unfair though it may be, many observers of college football recruiting take the quarterback signed as the centerpiece and hallmark of a school's class. Stanford has no prospective student-athletes on their recruiting radar at this time with any scholarship offers, which forecasts a bagel for Buddy Teevens and Quarterback U at the program's trademark position....
That is, until you learn that Breck School (Minneapolis, MN) slinger Liam O'Hagan is coming to visit The Farm this weekend on his fifth and final official trip. With scholarship offers from Minnesota, Colorado, Boston College and Vanderbilt, this 6'2" 210-pounder must have something college coaches believe can contribute at the Division I level.
One look at his senior season for the 14-0 Breck Mustangs shows you that O'Hagan was one of the most prolific and efficient quarterbacks in the nation in 2003. En route to a state championship, the senior QB threw for state records of 3,812 yards and 55 touchdowns, while erring on just seven interceptions. He completed 225 of his 339 passes, for a 66% completion percentage. Those numbers, folks, are top-end career numbers for most of the top signal callers in the country. It comes as no surprise that O'Hagan was named All-Metro and All-State this year, as well as his conference's Player of the Year. Conference awards rarely catch the attention of recruiting gurus, though it bares mention that O'Hagan edged out his all-world CB/WR teammate, Brandon Robinson, with that honor. Robinson is the #15 rated cornerback prospect in the nation this year.
The Breck quarterback also earned an All-American honor recently when he was one of just 78 players to convene on San Antonio at the New Year to play in the U.S. Army All-American game. Though he was tabbed for the honor for his offensive prowess, O'Hagan was not going to edge out the uber-elite quarterbacks on hand for the West team. So he played linebacker, and to many observers significantly outplayed some far more nationally renowned players on his team at the position.
His highlight moment came when he picked off an errant pass for an interception, after which his game picked up.
"It took a few plays to get going," he comments. "But after the interception I was ready, and I thought I played pretty well. I made five or six tackles and felt pretty comfortable out there."
O'Hagan played strong safety for his high school team and definitely raised the eyebrows of a lot of coaches with his aggressive but deliberate play in the game, but all schools recruiting him are talking exclusively quarterback. He took three official visits in the fall to Colorado, Vanderbilt and Harvard. Last weekend he took his fourth trip to Princeton.
"It was a lot of fun," the prized student-athlete says of the Princeton visit. "I thought the campus was beautiful. The athletic programs - football and baseball - were headed in the right direction. The coaches were great people; the kids seemed fun and liked to have a good time."
Princeton nominally cannot offer athletic scholarships to recruits like O'Hagan, which puts the Tigers on even ground with Stanford right now. So how does he stack the two up at this time?
"Well, at Princeton they are giving me the chance to play two sports, both football and baseball, which I could not do at Stanford," he begins. "Baseball as a second sport at Stanford would be tough. The program that Coach [Mark] Marquess is running is at an elite level that requires a full-time commitment. I know that too well from my brother. I don't think I can split the two sports at the level Stanford plays both. But sports are only half the reason for me."
The baseball factor weighs in Princeton's favor, as it would with a place like Harvard, but there are football issues to even consider.
"I'm trying to figure out if I would have a better time playing soon at Princeton or waiting for [Stanford quarterback] Trent Edwards to graduate," O'Hagan reveals. "Coach Teevens tells me that he views me as a scholarship caliber player, but he has been very up front with me about how small their class is this year. It doesn't look likely that they have room for me right now. But he says that I will have a chance to compete, and if I can contribute to the program, he would put me on scholarship later. Stanford is the place where I want to go right now, but I need to see what it's like on the visit and be sure that it will be right for me."
The recruit's older brother, David O'Hagan, is currently a prominent senior pitcher on the Stanford baseball team, so there should be few surprises about the campus and students when Liam takes his official visit to The Farm this weekend. He will, however, have a much closer look at the football team, coaches and their plans for him.
The Minnesota quarterback submitted his admissions application to Stanford two weeks ago and is awaiting that fateful decision. He carries a 3.5 GPA at Breck and has scored a 1200 on the SAT.
In addition to the Stanford versus Ivy (Princeton/Harvard) apparent battle, watch out for Boston College. The Big East program is believed to be renewing their efforts for O'Hagan, and with a scholarship on the table that makes for an uneven battle with the Cardinal.
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