January 26, 2009

Set to Sign: Conor O'Neill

Similar to the "Catching up" series, BadgerBlitz.com is set to release our "Set to sign" compilation in the days leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 4. This series will focus on 10 pressing questions from Badger fans before the 2009 recruiting class inks their commitment to the University of Wisconsin.

Today's installment: Conor O'Neill, a three-star linebacker from Fort Lauderdale (Fla) St. Thomas Aquinas.

The same 13 questions were presented to each player

Updated Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 195 pounds

What are your plans for Signing Day?

I'm going to do the normal stuff that St. Thomas does. At 3:00 p.m. after school we're going to get all the signees and go into the cafeteria and do our thing. Take a few pictures and call it a wrap.

What school finished second in your recruitment? Why?

Probably Clemson because I would have had the opportunity to play both football and baseball, but I just fell in love with Madison and everything.

What school, if any, continued to recruit you after your verbal commitment?

Miami and Florida State right at the end. The day after our state game, Miami offered me and I talked with the coach from FSU when he was in our school. But the whole time I was committed to UW; I was with them the whole time.

What school did you root for growing up? Why?

Miami. I grew up rooting for the Hurricanes.

What are some of your favorite television shows?

Sports Center, How I Meet Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, House, stuff like that.

If you could compare yourself to one NFL or NCAA player, who would it be? Why?

I'd say Shawn Spence from Miami. I'm a little undersized for the linebacker position, but my speed, my heart and my athleticism lets me play to the best of my abilities.

Who was your role model growing up? Why?

That's a tough one. Probably my parents.

Do you have any hidden/secret talents?

I can play baseball. I have a 4.2 GPA, I guess (laughing).

If you could be anyone in the world for one day, who would it be?

I'd say Alex Rodriguez from the Yankees.

What is your favorite food/meal?

I'd have to say steak. Either that or stir fry.

What do you plan on studying at the University of Wisconsin? (Degree)?

I'm leaning toward business but I may stay undecided my first year just so that I can options, but everything that I've been gearing toward is business. That's what I'm hoping.

Who is the best player you faced at the high school level (someone you will always remember competing against)?

At the high school level, I'd say either Major Wright or Chris Rainey, Major being one of my teammates and going against Chris my sophomore year.

Bonus O'Neill

O'Neill on teammate Dezmen Southward:

Honestly, he's just a freak athlete. He's a great person and a great teammate. Once I knew that I wanted to play for Wisconsin, I was trying to get as many kids from our team to take a look at Wisconsin, and Dezmen was the first one I thought of. If you've ever seen him play, he's something special. This only being the first year playing football, I made sure to tell Coach (Charlie) Partridge and Coach (Bret) Bielema to give him an offer because he's going to be something special in a few years.

We all knew about his freakish ability. He ran a 4.3 (40-yard dash) at Florida and he's got a 40-plus vertical. He's got a big body so our coach just asked him to come out and it turned out to be a great decision. Luckily he came out this year.

I know that he's talking to a couple schools like UCONN and Tennessee is coming into the picture, but hopefully he'll be wearing a Wisconsin Badger uniform next year.

O'Neill on his senior season and state championship:

It's just going to be tough for anyone else to accomplish what we did this year. We were ranked No. 1 in just about every poll in the nation and the way our rallied around each other was just special. It's an honor to be part of this team, to be a captain of this team. Everything just bounced our way and it was just an amazing year, I can't even describe it.

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