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June 08, 2011

Q&A with Tyler O'Connor

Lima (Ohio) Central Catholic quarterback Tyler O’Connor became the fifth member of the 2012 Michigan State football recruiting class on Monday when he chose the Spartans over Northwestern. O'Connor also had offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Virginia and West Virginia. Our Denny Schwarze tracked O'Connor down Wednesday and fired off some questions. Here you go:

    Q: It came down to Michigan State and Northwestern, what eventually led you to choose MSU when all was said and done?
    TO: “Both were great places and both have great opportunities so with that, in the end, it was very hard to decide and in the end it kind of came down to your gut feeling. From the beginning I really liked the facilities (at MSU), all the guys and the football atmosphere. I know they play big-time football every year. I know they play good teams and I’m looking forward to playing at the highest level. It was very hard because both places have great guys and great coaches."

    Q: You mentioned “big-time football." Did the facilities at MSU appeal to you more than the facilities in Evanston?
    TO: “It’s not a knock on Northwestern, but as of right now I think Michigan State is at a little higher level. Last year they were co-Big Ten champions. Just the fact that they fill their stands with 70,000 every game is really exciting. It really appealed to me, the whole atmosphere and the whole football side of things.”

    Q: Who was your primary recruiter?
    TO: “Coach (Mike) Tressel." (MSU linebackers and special teams coach)

    Q: Who at MSU did you inform first when you decided to commit?
    TO: “I called coach Dantonio and he was the first person to know and it was great. I kind of hinted at it before that I was going to make the commitment earlier in the day. I said it was going to be an exciting day for him. He assured me he was going to be there throughout my career and he told me I was going to do great things while I was there. It was a great conversation and I was excited.”

    Q: With Kirk Cousins being a senior and Joe Boisture being forced to quit due to injury, do you like the quarterback situation at MSU in the next couple years and do you feel like you will have a good chance to come in and compete?
    TO: “It was a great situation there and no matter where you go there’s going to be competition. I’m not scared of competition. I love to compete. It might be tougher to go to a place where there are two quarterbacks right in front of you. I’m very excited about the situation.”

    Q: Your high school coach, Jerry Cooper, said when you first committed that you were an outstanding leader. Do you think that is something that all quarterbacks must have naturally or do you think that it is something that can be cultivated?
    TO: “I think it’s definitely something you can work on. I became the varsity quarterback (at Lima Central Catholic High School) my freshman year and I can honestly say I wasn’t the biggest leader. It was weird to all of a sudden become the leader since I had looked up to a lot of those guys who were a few years older than me, but every year with more maturity and more confidence I became more of a leader, not only on the field but off of it.”

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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