Culver's Lucas O'Connor Signs Football Scholarship Offer

Lucas O’Connor, star quarterback of the 2011 Culver City High football team that went to the CIF Western Conference finals has signed a scholarship offer to play football at West Liberty University in West Liberty, West Virginia. West Liberty is a strong Division 2 program. In his big season with the Centaurs O’Connor passed for 3,341 yards in 14 games, second only to Darius Banks who threw for 4,115 in 2006. His 32 touchdowns passes makes him the third highest in this category behind Banks and Jonathan Martin. He was second all time in Culver City history with 30 completions in one game against Narbonne. He also had the second highest completion percentage in a game with 17 of 22 passes completed against Righetti. He was third all time in completion percentage for his career with 59.3% and also third in his season completion percentage with 60.6%. It was a long and broken road that brought O’Connor to West Liberty. After high school O’Connor turned down full division 1AA offers to Robert Morris University and Jackson State University because he was seriously interested in going to the Ivy League or Georgetown, and they expressed interest in him. They suggested that he go to a prep school which was like going to a 5th year of high school. Their reasoning was that they would not recruit any junior college transfers. Paul O’Connor, Lucas’dad, found a school, Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, that wanted to offer Lucas nearly a full ride scholarship. This was ideal for the eastern schools recruiting Lucas because of Avon’s location that was in their back yard. O’Connor had a very productive season and threw for over 3,000 yards and then Coach Greg Goodyear got Lucas a scholarship offer to James Madison.

He accepted and went to James Madison and he was there for a year and decided to transfer. He came back to coach in Culver City and went to West LA College, and on a suggestion from Coach Wright, he transferred to Chapman University in Orange County, a division 3 school, where he played for two years and graduated with a Bachelors degree in 2017. However, O’Connor was frustrated because he was a backup at Chapman and he felt he deserved another shot to become a starter. He called Coach Goodyear late in February to get some help to accomplish his goal and, hopefully, to get a scholarship tohelp pay for his graduate degree. Lucas was behind the eight ball because it was late in the year and most of the scholarships had been distributed. Fortunately, Coach Goodyear was able to find two schools that said they were willing to offer Lucas full scholarships. But unfortunately, both schools had extremely expensive graduate programs, and it turned out they could only offer a partial scholarship. So Lucas declined these offers. Recently, after exhausting all other options, Goodyear called West Liberty about another Centaur player and their recruited quarterback did not qualify academically so they decided to pursue Lucas to fill their need for a potential starter. A few weeks ago O’Connor was planning to visit West Liberty when tragedy struck. His mother passed away unexpectedly from a heart condition. Relatives encouraged him to continue with his plans, so he rescheduled his trip for the next week. Before Lucas left, the head coach at West Liberty, who is a California native, flew out to California to visit relatives, and he made it a point to meet with Lucas in person. The meeting was encouraging, and his dad decided to pay for a one-way ticket for Lucas to go back to West Virginia. When Lucas went back to visit the campus, they wanted to see him throw to make sure he was worthy of a scholarship. Lucas stated: “I really liked it out there and had a great rapport with the quarterback coach who was a young and easy going

guy. I did not feel I threw my best because my throwing hand was sweating and I could not grip the ball properly.”But the coaches got in touch with Lucas after he returned to California and told him how much of a scholarship they could offer him. He has now returned to West Liberty where he is working hard to earn the starter’s job. There were several other former and current Centaurs who also received scholarship offers recently. The most prominent of these is Grant Coffee, class of 2012, who was the starting defensive end at Bowling Green. Unfortunately, he was injured in the first game of the season against Ohio State and had to sit out the entire season because of this leg injury. Since Coffee has NFL potential stats he felt it was in his best interest not go back to division 1A Bowling Green because he only had one year of eligibility left at the D1A level while he could play for two more years at a D2 level. He took a few trips during the spring, visiting national powerhouse Grand Valley State, but he decided to go to Missouri Western State because it was a better situation for him football wise and it has a little better climate. Another former Centaur to sign a scholarship offer in the spring was Duncan Ashley, class of 2011. Ashley had numerous schools interested in him because a 6’3”, 190, corner back is very desirable and he can also play safety. In fact, after he signed his scholarship offer with D2 Missouri S&T in late March he was offered a full scholarship to D1A University Texas, El Paso. Mekhi Ware, Class of 2017, 6’1”, 180, cornerback, was offered a late scholarship to Indiana State University in April. Two former Centaurs, Kevin Beacham, and Lonnie Walker already play in the defensive backfield at ISU. After he signed with Indiana State he got a scholarship offer to D1A UNLV but he decided to honor his prior commitment. Three other former Centaurs also got multiple scholarship offers but they did not sign. They are running back Donovan Davis, El

Camino, receiver Mason Mulvihill, El Camino, and Michael Candler, West LA, who plays defensive end and defensive tackle.


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