Ohio’s top quarterback for 2019 is off the board.
Alter quarterback Connor Bazelak announced Sunday he has decided to continue his football career at Missouri.
“I want to thank all the coaches that recruited me and gave me an opportunity to play at the next level,” he tweeted. “Also to everyone in my life that has made me a better person and quarterback.
“With that being said, I am excited to announce my commitment to the University of Missouri!”
The No. 22 player in Ohio in the 247Sports Composite rankings, he has a last name that should be familiar to area sports fans.
While his father, Lenny, is a member of the Xenia High School Athletics Hall of Fame after starring in three sports for the Buccaneers and playing college basketball at Dartmouth, older sisters Maddie and Libby were Alter basketball stars. Libby plays basketball at Duquesne, where Maddie is a member of the volleyball team.
Now Connor is the No. 1 pro-style quarterback prospect in Ohio and No. 20 in the nation.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder threw for 1,097 yards and ran for 146 last season for the Knights, who went 9-2 and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Bazelak threw only 134 passes in 11 games as a junior, but that did not prevent him from putting together an impressive offer list.
“I think obviously some coaches see it as a negative, but most of the coaches that recruited me kind of see it as a positive because I have so much potential that hasn’t really come out. I’ve got a lot of arm left in me,” Bazelak said. “The offense we run at Alter makes me think a lot, reading defenses. Also coaches didn’t really care about the stats. They just saw my talent, saw my arm motion, everything I do as a quarterback, and kind of just fell in love with it.”
Bazelak told Cox Media Group Ohio he had narrowed his primary list to the Tigers, Duke and North Carolina after visiting those schools in June.
He was also still considering Georgia, Purdue, North Carolina State, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
“I went down to Missouri for an official visit last weekend, and coming out of it it just felt like home,” Bazelak said. “It felt right. I felt comfortable there, so I just kind of went with my gut feeling, went with my heart.”
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Bazelak had interest from Ohio State, but an offer from Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes never came.
He threw for OSU offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day on two occasions and maintained regular contact with Day, who is the team’s quarterbacks coach.
“I think after the second time (Day) saw me throw we kind of talked and he said they were waiting on some other guys that might be higher than me on their list,” Bazelak said. “He kind of told me don’t wait around for them.
“Obviously Ohio State would have been a big offer, but I don’t think it would have changed anything because I still think I’m committed to the right place with Missouri. I think that’s best for me.”
Missouri has long been a pass-happy spread offense, but Bazelak said he expects new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley to introduce more pro-style elements to the scheme in his first year in Columbia, where star quarterback Drew Lock is returning for his senior season.
“I would say they’re pro style definitely but they’ll still throw the ball around a lot,” Bazelak said. “Obviously their quarterback is one of the best in the country so they should have a good year next year, too.”
Of course, Bazelak has his own business to attend to between now and then.
After his junior season began with a loss to rival Fairmont and ended with a loss to rival Chaminade Julienne, the Knights have some payback in mind for this fall.
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“We’ve got a bunch of seniors coming back and we’ve been working hard this season on the weight room and on the field, and I know we’re getting ready for some redemption,” Bazelak said. “We want to make a run to the playoffs and hopefully win the state.”
Bazelak is not the only major-college prospect on the Alter roster.
Running back John Bivens is the No. 10 prospect in the state and remains uncommitted heading into summer.
The three-star prospect’s offers include Nebraska, Louisville, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Indiana.