O'Connor Back to Square One

The Windsor (Colo.) offensive guard Joey O'Connor is having to start his recruitment over after decommitting from Penn State and UCLA has been in contact with him...

Windsor (Colo.) offensive lineman Joey O'Connor figured that by making a decision to commit to Penn State in early Summer, he wouldn't have to worry about the recruiting process.

"I committed early because I wanted to get it out of the way and I didn't want to have to stress about it during the season," said O'Connor. "I was feeling good about it and the whole stress factor was gone."

Then came the news out of State College a week ago, that ultimately led to the firing of Joe Paterno. On Thursday, O'Connor became the first public decommit from Penn State in the wake of Paterno's firing.

"At this point, I'm just going to concentrate on my football season and play it by ear," said O'Connor. "But just because I decommited, doesn't mean I've completely ruled Penn State out. It's just everything has been taking down to an equal playing field."

O'Connor, 6-4, 285, said that almost immediately upon his decision to decommit, a slew of schools were in contact.

"I had a bunch of schools contacting me," said O'Connor. "I've heard from Notre Dame, Miami, Utah, Tennessee, Arkansas, Purdue, Michigan, Boise State, Mississippi State, Cal, UCLA, TCU, South Carolina, Colorado State and Colorado."

But now O'Connor is slowing things down, instead choosing to focus on the playoffs.

"Right now, I'm just trying to concentrate on my season, and I'm not really worried about which ones have been contacting me. I'm focusing on my team right now," said O'Connor.

Even when he was solidly committed to Penn State, O'Connor said that Utah, Tennessee, Michigan and Boise State were staying in regular contact, as was Penn State.

"Now, almost every school that was recruiting me before is recruiting me again and some new schools," said O'Connor. "I don't want to say I'm going to start the whole process over, but I will definitely be taking my four official visits."

O'Connor visited Penn State officially when they played Eastern Michigan.

"I'll figure out the rest of my trips when the season is done," said O'Connor. "Right now, it's definitely going to be in my mind, but I want to set it on the back burner as much as I can. I'll be talking to coaches as much as I can once a week, starting right now, but I'm not going to be trying to get too too in depth with it and not think about where I want to go, and where I want to take my officials until the season is done."

O'Connor said last week was a trying week for him, with all the news coming his way.

"The stress on top of what happened, starting the whole process again is tough, but everything happens for a reason," said O'Connor. "But what happened (to the victims), it's a tragedy, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families."

O'Connor said that he'll be keeping a close watch on who is hired at Penn State, as he doesn't want to rule them out.

"It's hard, because I built a relationship with the Penn State coaching staff, and it's hard to do that with a new coaching staff," said O'Connor. "But I really loved Penn State."

O'Connor has been selected to play in the 2012 UnderArmour All-America Game in Orlando.

Brandon is in his seventh year with Scout.com, currently as the National Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Manager. Prior to joining the Scout Recruiting Team, he was a team recruiting writer.  He's been covering recruiting for the Scout Network since 2003.
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