It only made sense that Colorado got the ball rolling in recruiting for Connor O’Brien (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic).
Now it’s up to O’Brien, a budding defensive prospect, to determine if this ride stops where it began or if it lands him elsewhere.
The Buffaloes offered O’Brien about a month ago, he said, soon followed by Duke, Washington State and Colorado State.
“It’s been very exciting,” he said. “This is my dream. I was sitting and waiting. Several guys on my team had offers, which were well deserved.”
O’Brien grew up as a fan of Colorado. His father, Mike Kenlon, played linebacker at CU, and uncle George Kenlon followed him as a defensive end in Boulder.
Additionally, another uncle, Steve Kenlon, played free safety at Southern California.
O’Brien, at 6-foot-4 and 205, plays free safety and receiver at Santa Margarita, the California Interscholastic Federation Division I champion last fall.
Most college coaches with whom he’s talked expect O’Brien to grow into an outside linebacker – if he hasn’t already.
“I want to stay at safety for as long as I can,” O’Brien said. “I think I just have that natural ability, but I’m learning linebacker, too. During practice, I know what to do there. I feel I could play the position now.”
Duke offered him as a safety, though, with the chance to play offense, too.
The Duke academics appeal also to O’Brien, who hopes to earn a business degree and attend law school.
An all-county honoree as a junior, O’Brien said he hopes to raise his profile by participating in the April 1 Nike Football Training Camp in Los Angeles. He’s running track this spring, too, participating in several sprints in an attempt to improve his 4.65-second 40-yard dash time.
O’Brien recorded 91 tackles last season with eight interceptions. He caught 24 passes for 299 yards and two scores.
During his upcoming spring break, he said, he’d like to visit Colorado, Washington State and Oregon State. He’s also hearing from Oregon, UCLA, USC, Washington, Boise State and TCU. He’s looking into a camp at TCU this summer.