In this world of twitter, sound bites, and sports cliches, it's nice to have a chance to talk with a player at length. Connor Keane joined Michael J Much for an extended interview this past week. Tune in and learn about this talented student/athlete.
Position: Wide Receiver/Athlete
Grades: GPA 3.4
ACT: 26 Superscore (25 Composite)
3 Year Letter Winner: Football, Also Varsity Letter in Track
MJM: Connor please tell me about your season to date.
Connor: We are currently playing our best football of the season, having won four straight in a more balanced attack. Early in the season, we went 2-2, which helped build the character of our football team. We came out hot in our first game by beating East Ridge. It was a very run-first game plan in which my role was to deliver key blocks including a pancake block to free up Blake for a critical touchdown.
We lost to Mounds View by only one point in a game that was very back and forth. I had multiple catches in that game including a significant 4th and 20+ yard sliding grab which led to a touchdown. My breakout game for this season was versus Stillwater, including a 43 yard touchdown reception as we went on to win 27-13 for our Homecoming game.
Next, we traveled to Hastings and we lost a very close game 34-33 in overtime. Then we ripped off four wins in a row, defeating the following teams: Park (49-7), Forest Lake (48-7), Woodbury (48-20) and Roseville (49-14). I contributed with 5 touchdowns over this span, including 3 against Woodbury. I've started every game this year, playing primarily the H position Wide Receiver in our offense.
I am utilized as a threat as an outside receiver opposite James Onwualu, who primarily plays the X position. I also play this position out of the slot. I have helped spread out our pass attack as well as contributed our run game's success delivering critical pancake blocks on the edge.
MJM: How would you describe your style of play?
Connor: My style of play is all about being smart, athletic, and loving the game of football. My style of play is aggressive and an "I won't be denied the ball" receiver and have demonstrated that on several receptions this year fighting off multiple defenders for grabs.
This is my hallmark....catching the ball in heavy traffic. The quarterbacks know they can rely on my route running and my hands - able to make the big play when they're most needed.
We are primarily a run-first team; however we still find room to call very effective pass plays as well. Our offense is full of playmakers and we love getting the football into our hands and making plays. Thus far, I have 20 receptions for 442 yards and 6 Touchdowns, averaging 22.1 yards per catch. I am a threat both as an outside receiver and also as a slot receiver. Division 1 coaches and scouts call out my greatest attributes are my hands, my big play capability, and yards after the catch.
MJM: Tell me about what you consider your best performance of the season to date?
My best performance this season so far was against Woodbury on October 12th. I had 5 catches for over 100 yards and 3 touchdowns (29, 30, 43), all in the first half. The team has also found value in me at running back on occasion, carrying the ball 6 times for 47 yards and can rely on me to deliver any critical blocks needed to free up big gains.
MJM: How have your family and friends been reacting to your success this season?
It's been fun to receive calls from friends and family after seeing me on weekly TV highlights. KARE 11 has covered my plays both last year and this year.
MJM: How is the team doing? You have had couple of tough losses. Have you made the necessary adjustment to finish the season strong?
Connor: Coach Scanlan and the staff have us ready. The commitment to weekly film helps us prepare for our upcoming opponent. The mood of the team right now is confident and focused. Both of our losses have been by a single point, so we haven't focused too much on those losses. We are moving forward and don't focus on the past. It is what it is.
We are getting hot at the right time; we have scored nearly 200 points in our last four games. We are taking one game at a time in the playoffs because you can't take anyone lightly. Our toughest playoff foe is Woodbury this Friday night.
MJM: How are things going with your goal to play college ball. Give me an update on your recruting to date.
Connor: I have a preferred walk-on at UMass. Coach Scanlan and the other coaches have been very supportive during my recruiting process and he is currently connecting with multiple programs across the country. Schools that are recruiting me right now are University of Massachusetts, Ball State, Illinois, Pittsburgh, Western Michigan, Tulane, Washington State, Boston College, Penn, Cornell, Colorado, and Iowa State. I have visited UMass, Ball State, Pittsburgh, Yale, Cornell, Penn, Purdue, Columbia, Western Michigan, Illinois, Northwestern, Boston College, and Minnesota.
I made a visit to UMass for their one-day camp this summer in Foxboro, MA. I also got the chance to check out their campus. It was a great experience seeing the campus as well as the camp because I was able to work one-on-one with the wide receivers coach there and create a bond with him.
I also enjoyed my visit out east to Boston College. BC has a beautiful campus and the school offers many options for students. I got the chance to sit down with a couple of the coaches and talk with them for a while as well as tour the campus and their facilities. I will make additional visits at the conclusion of the season.
Schools that have asked for film are Iowa State, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Memphis, Washington State, Tulane, Western Michigan, UMass, Ball State, Boston College, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Penn, Pittsburgh, East Carolina, Toledo, Akron, Bowling Green, North Carolina State, Syracuse, UCLA, Louisiana Tech, Rice, Temple, UNLV and Boise State.
MJM: What are you looking for in a college. How important academics? What do you plan to study?
My plans are to receive the best education possible as a business major while playing Wide Receiver at the D1 level. I am looking for a program where I can compete for time as a true freshman and also a program that can offer me what I am looking for academically. I am looking to study business particularly marketing and potentially finance. I competed against the top talent in the nation the entire summer and I know where I fit in and where I can make a difference.
MJM: What have you done in the off season to improve your game?
Connor: I attended the Adidas Sound Mind Sound Body two day camp in Detroit, which was attended by nearly every Big 10 school. These well-attended camps attracted over 300 of Ohio's and Michigan's 4 and 5 star recruits. This was a great test and I thrived in this extremely competitive "shark tank" 1 on 1 and 7 on 7 environment. As a result, I was named by Rivals as one of the top wide receivers in the Midwest and received several D1 school invites as a result of my performance at these camps.
MJM: how much fun is it traveling across the country attending camps?
Connor: It was a great experience and fun to thrive against the best of Ohio and Michigan. I was invited for a second time to Nike Football Training Camp which was held at the University of Oregon two summers ago and at the University of Illinois last summer.
MJM: Did you attend any other camps? Do you have more coming up?
Connor: I attended Western Michigan, Northwestern, Ball State, Minnesota, UMass, the D1 coach well-attended Anthony Spencer RAS 50 camp in Angola, Indiana. It was great having D1 coaches come up to me and say "you're just the type of receiver we're looking for". In January I was invited to the US Army Combine in San Antonio.
MJM: You have very good grades and College admission test scores. Tell me more about your athletic stats?
Other key statistics that coaches have found important in recruiting me include a 4.6 40 yard dash time and also a 3.8 pro shuttle time.
MJM: I understand you are working out in the off-season with Ted Johnson. Tell me about that please?
Connor: I worked out 6 days a week with my trainer Ted Johnson in the summer in order to put myself in the situation that I am in now. I am excited to find out where I will be playing my college football next fall.
Social: When I'm not playing football, I enjoy traveling the country and spending time with family and friends.
MJM: Tell me about your life away from sports? What are you other interests?
Since I attend a private school, I work at the school during the summer to provide for my school tuition and also am a sports camp leader. I enjoy volunteering for several school and community programs.
MJM: You attend a school with excellent academic and athletic traditions. Tell me a bit about life at CDH?
Connor: It's awesome to play for such a prestigious and well-respected program. Cretin is well recognized across the country for our excellent and well-prepared student athletes. It's been fun traveling across the country and having coaches comment on our well-respected school and football program.
MJM: Thanks to taking the time for this extended visit. It's been very interesting learning more about you, your team, and your plans.
Connor: You are very welcome! Thanks for visiting with me.