O'Connell Getting Looks

Chico (Calif.) Pleasant Valley offensive lineman Carson O'Connell has got a great mix of brains and muscle that has been on display for some of the best coaches in college football. Now, he's looking to strengthen his offer list…

Despite issues with his hip flexibility, 6-foot-3, 300-pound Carson O'Connell has a lot of traits will intrigue many coaches. He's a strong kid that plays with a bit of a mean streak and he has plenty of time to develop. O'Connell won't be 17 until October.

While he doesn't have the offers he wants yet, he is getting quite a bit of attention.

"Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal Poly, and UC Davis have all asked me for my first 3 games of senior film," said O'Connell.

"Nevada has also asked me for film, as well as invited me to their senior day. I have also received info from every Ivy League School and had two calls with Yale."

The list of schools showing interest is very impressive, but what schools are O'Connell interested in?

"The Ivys are interesting, but I am definitely more interested in an FBS type program," he said. "All of the schools I listed would present great academic opportunities and are a little closer to home. If I have to pick my top five far, they would probably be Cal, Oregon, USC, Washington and Nevada."

Some schools have shown more interest from others. O'Connell broke down which schools have given him the most interest and what they've been telling him.

"USC gave me the preferred walk-on offer. They said in a normal year this would be an offer, but they can't do that because of the sanctions. They said that I would get a scholarship when they get them back in a couple of years.

"I have camped twice at Cal and they have told me that they are very interested. They say they will be offering me late and want to see my first three game films. Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, UC Davis and Cal Poly are basically all in the same boat. Nevada has contacted us several times and specifically asked us up for their senior day."

O'Connell has heard a lot of good things about his play as well, some coming from his time at USC's linemen camp. On what coaches have told him about his play, O'Connell said they were "Mostly good things. They talk about my strength and speed, but I am still working on my pad level and foot speed."

O'Connell recalled at USC's camp that Coach Cregg said that other players "'shouldn't fight me in a phone booth,' which I thought was pretty funny. I'm working three hours a day six days a week right now on flexibility and explosiveness. I've already improved since USC."

As talented as he is on the football field, O'Connell sports the brains to go with it all. In fact, that's one of his main factors in looking at a school.

"First is academics," said O'Connell. "That's what it is really all about. I have pretty good test scores (30 ACT/2000 SAT) so I feel that I can hang in the upper echelon of schools. Academics and the contacts you can make at the school. Next would probably be the coaching staff and just the general feeling I get for the school. Third would be location, to make my mom happy."

O'Connell has experienced some nice opportunities to check out some schools. When asked what he thinks of some of his top schools, he said, "Well, USC is an incredible school. I really liked the campus as well as the history of great teams from there. Cal is great because I have a family history of going there as well as having many players from my school attend there.

"I loved Oregon because of the way Eugene really rallies around the team and its football program is spectacular. Corvallis felt like a bigger version of my hometown, which is definitely nice. Washington is incredible, the weather is perfect and the school is awesome. Finally, Reno has a nice small town feel to it, which is nice."

He also thinks highly of his skills, but he knows that he does have some work to do. "I feel like I would be a reliable lineman that is always consistent," said O'Connell. "As far as attitude, I am a definite team player that would try to help the players around me as much as possible."

O'Connell continued on which area of his game he feels he can improve on. "I think my pad level definitely. In the past, I have always been a little higher than I should have been, on account of my being bigger than everyone else. Now that I am facing tougher competition, I realize that size alone won't cut it, that I have to work on my hip flexibility so that I can be lower."

As far as any dream school, two schools do come to his mind the most. "Growing up, I had actually always been a USC fan. The first college game I watched was the USC-Texas Rose Bowl a few years back. Unfortunately USC lost, but it was still a great game. Then once I hit high school, I started really liking Cal as well."

The sky is the limit for this young, smart lineman. Where his senior season takes him will be determined and odds are it could be some good news coming his way.

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