UBC quarterback eyes pro career as CFL, NFL draft approaches

He’s a name you might not be familiar with now, but Michael O’Connor is hoping that’ll change come football season.

O’Connor just wrapped up his senior year at the University of British Columbia, where he guided the Thunderbirds for the last four seasons, winning a Vanier Cup Championship along the way. He was also an instrumental part in revitalizing the football program and putting UBC back on the map.

“Mike is always the first to be here and last to leave,” Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nil said. “He leads by example more than any other measure and is certainly an individual who casts that type of aura. Other kids look at him and think ‘Wow, if we could just be like him, we got a shot.’”

O’Connor’s focus is now on turning pro. With both the NFL and CFL drafts fast approaching, the 23-year-old business graduate has had a lot of looks at from both leagues, including the BC Lions and Seattle Seahawks.

“It’s about showcasing my skills and letting the teams know I can play at the next level,” said O’Connor. “That’s what I’ve been preparing for, for the last couple months. It kind of shifts from getting ready for games to getting ready for the next level.”

Coach Nill, who was a big reason O’Connor joined the UBC program, thinks the CFL would be a perfect fit for the QB.

"This kid can make the throws. He's what Canada needs in our league up here,” Nill told CTV News. “They need a kid who can make the people excited and help grow our game."

While O’Connor is focused on the next stage of his life, he admits it’s hard to think about moving on from his successful college career.

“It never really hits you until something like this starts to happen. It’s funny, I went into the locker room the other day and Tommy, our new QB, he’s taken over my locker, and it’s the first time it hit me, like 'Wow, I won’t be playing here again,'” O’Connor said. “But I’m definitely excited and looking forward to the next step.”

The NFL draft gets underway Thursday, while the CFL draft take place May 2.

Published by CTV News, view the full article here - https://bc.ctvnews.ca/ubc-quarterback-eyes-pro-career-as-cfl-nfl-draft-approaches-1.4391779

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