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January 24, 2013
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Former Windsor football star Joey O’Connor leaving Ohio State

Former Windsor High School football star Joey O’Connor is leaving Ohio State University to be closer to home.

According to a news release from the Ohio State football program Wednesday, the school said O’Connor “has requested a transfer to be closer to home.”

O’Connor has not yet indicated where he is headed.

O’Connor, 18, was one of the Buckeyes’ prized recruits in their 2012 class, and one of Colorado’s top football players last year. He was expected to see some playing time on the offensive line at center or guard during his freshman year in Columbus, Ohio, but a couple of knee surgeries forced the 6-foot-3, 305-pound O’Connor to sit out and redshirt.

O’Connor had his knee scoped and cleaned out after it bothered him last summer. O’Connor’s left knee then required microfracture surgery.

The Buckeyes ended the season 12-0, but due to NCAA sanctions, the Buckeyes weren’t eligible to play in a bowl game or compete for a BCS national championship this year. O’Connor will still have four years of eligibility at the next school that lands him.

O’Connor’s dad, Joe O’Connor, told Windsor Now in November that adjusting to new surroundings and rehabbing from knee surgery wasn’t the easiest thing for his son.

“It was incredibly frustrating for him,” Joe said. “Couple that with homesickness, being X amount of miles away from his comfort zone, it was real difficult the first couple of months. For any freshman, whether they’re playing ball or not, I’m sure that’s a factor. Couple that with an injury, that just made it ever harder. He got through it, and realized that he had to put his big-boy pants on and took care of business.”

With a population of 800,000 in Columbus, it was a culture shock for O’Connor when he arrived on campus, O’Connor’s dad told Windsor Now.

“The change in culture coming from a Colorado small town, you know Windsor and Eaton, farming community to metropolitan Columbus. All the kids that he deals with are not from small communities,” Joe said. “They’re from Cincinnati, they’re from Columbus, they’re from Cleveland, they’re from Fort Lauderdale. That’s basically his biggest challenge is meshing with those metropolitan-type kids. He’s listed as the country kid coming from Colorado out west. It was definitely a culture shock all across the board.”

O’Connor originally committed to play at Penn State, but he decommitted after the child sex-abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer called after O’Connor emailed the football office saying that he was interested in the school. O’Connor told Windsor Now after he signed his national letter-of-intent last February that he really liked Meyer.

“He’s a genuine person,” said O’Connor. “He doesn’t talk to me like I’m just another piece of meat. He’s more intrigued by what I do off the football field, and what type of person I am.”

O’Connor narrowed his college choices down to Ohio State, Cal, Iowa, TCU and Boise State. Although he did receive offers from Colorado and Colorado State, O’Connor said early in the recruiting process that he wanted to play college football away from his home state.


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My Windsor Now Updated Feb 27, 2014 12:22PM Published Feb 2, 2013 12:03AM Copyright 2013 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.