Quite the Backup

Even though he was stuck behind a senior quarterback last season, St. Thomas Aquinas junior quarterback John O'Korn has picked up several scholarship offers and interest from plenty of BCS schools, including Wisconsin.

MADISON - For a backup high school quarterback, John O'Korn is already well ahead of the curve. Playing at a powerhouse like St. Thomas Aquinas will do that for a player.

Finishing last season with only 377 passing yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions, the 6-4, 205-pound O'Korn has already impressed enough college assistant coaches to bring in offers from North Carolina, South Florida, UCF and his latest one from pass-happy Houston Saturday.

"They run a very attractive system for a quarterback and would be a great opportunity," O'Korn told Badger Nation about the Houston offer. "I am going to try to get out there as soon as I can. Coach (Tom) Levine said it was the first time he has ever offered a quarterback without seeing him play. It's a great compliment to me and I look forward to building a relationship with him, the rest of the staff and see what they have to offer."

Admitting that he talks to between 20 and 30 schools, the relationship-building process is the main thing right now for O'Korn – a three-star quarterback ranked No.61 in the country by Scout.com. One of the schools O'Korn has dialogue with is Wisconsin and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, who brought down offensive coordinator Matt Canada during spring to watch him workout.

"Coach Partridge really liked what he saw when he first came down so he brought coach Canada down for a second look," said O'Korn. "I got to spend some time with them. They told me that they loved what they saw, that I can make all the throws and I have a lot of the abilities they are looking for. They want me to get on campus so they can keep building that relationship.

"If it was strictly based on football, I would have an offer, but they just want to get to know me better before they pull the trigger."

Knowledge of the UW campus for O'Korn comes from some photographs Partridge showed him, but the majority of his Wisconsin background comes from teammate Joey Bosa, a five-star defensive end who had the Badgers in his final grouping before committing to Ohio State this spring.

"He's told me nothing but good things," O'Korn said of Bosa, who he calls one of his best friends. "I've talked to Conor O'Neill and James White and they have nothing but good things to say about the university."

O'Korn started his summer by camping with the defending national champion Alabama, impressing the Crimson Tide with his throws and competitiveness. But with Nick Saban's 2013 recruiting class already including two quarterbacks, O'Korn knows that he won't be getting a scholarship offer from Tuscaloosa.

"I had a lot of fun competing with some of their top prospects and I felt like I was the best quarterback there," O'Korn said. "The coaches thought I had the best arm of the quarterbacks that came to its camps, and they said they wish they had another offer. It just wasn't meant to be, so I moved on to some other schools."

O'Korn admitted that he doesn't want to take any more wasted trips – only wanting to go to places that have a legitimate interest in him and places where he could receive an offer. As of right now, Wisconsin is on that list.

"I am definitely interested in Wisconsin," said O'Korn. "It's a place I am considering very seriously."

O'Korn will camp at Florida State next week, Florida later this summer for its ‘Friday Night Lights' event and is hoping to camp at Mississippi State, Tennessee and USF. He is also hoping to stop at UCF.

Whatever happens over the next several weeks, O'Korn realizes that a lot of schools are waiting to see him compete before extending offers. After originally wanting to make a decision in June, O'Korn wants to be proactive this summer and could make his decision in the fall to give schools some more highlights to think about.

"I definitely think that's what is holding some schools back because I have a feeling once I get on their campus, they will be very impressed with what I can do on the field and off the field," said O'Korn. "I think my character and my ability to do well in school matches my abilities on the field, and I am very proud of that.

"I am not going to hesitate to jump on an opportunity, but I am waiting for that right offer to come. I could already have it already. I just don't know."

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