Before the 2018 season only the diehards knew who Aidan O’Connell was. In fact, here is what I said in his 2018 Countdown to Kickoff profile when he was a true freshman:
Will today’s player ever take a snap in his career? That is the long gamble of the walk-on quarterback. It has to be rough going into the season knowing you’re about 6th on the depth chart. That is where O’Connell finds himself. Elijah Sindelar and David Blough are obviously the frontrunners at the position. Nick Sipe and Jack Plummer are battling for the No. 3 spot. 5th year senior Aaron Banks has a small amount of game experience and has been with the program for years. That leaves O’Connell.
It turns out he would take a few snaps. The senior has now thrown for close to 6,000 yards in his career, topped 500 yards twice last season, and is generally considered to be one of the best passers in the nation as we head into the season. Today he was honored as one of 10 players in the Big Ten as “Preseason Honorees” in advance of Media Days later this week:
Blake Corum, RB, MICH
Jayden Reed, WR, MSU
TreVeyon Henderson, RB, OSU
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, OSU
C.J. STROUD, QB, OSU
Jack Campbell, LB, IOWA
Peter Skoronski, OT, NU
Aidan O’Connell, QB, PUR
Braelon Allen, RB, WIS
Nick Herbig, OLB, WIS
Stroud was the only unanimous selection, but this is a tremendous honor for AOC. He stands within striking distance of the single-season Purdue passing record and 10,000 career yards if his average numbers bear out from last season. He is the unquestioned starter for the first time in his career and is riding a hot streak that saw him win five of his last six starts that saw him throw for almost 2,400 yards and 21 touchdowns against only 3 interceptions.
Personally, I want to see him win the Burlsworth Trophy, given annually to the most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.