Missouri’s newest commit for 2019, quarterback Connor Bazelak out of Dayton, Ohio, isn’t asked to sling the pigskin all that often at Archbishop Alter High School.
The Knights run a wishbone offense to great effect. They’ve qualified for the Ohio state playoffs every year since 2002 and have won two state championships in that time.
That didn’t bother Missouri, which had Bazelak on an official visit last weekend and secured his commitment Sunday night.
“I think I’ve turned it into an advantage because it makes me think a lot more, keeps me on my heels,” Bazelak said in a phone interview. “And we’re in a traditionally winning program. ... The coaches have gotten over the stats part. They really focus on my potential and my talents.”
Bazelak’s stats aren’t all that gaudy. He attempted just 134 passes in 11 games as a junior, racking up 1,097 yards and 11 touchdowns. Alter went 9-2 and lost in the first round of the state playoffs.
It’s Bazelak’s potential that had college programs excited. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he’s got the optimal frame for a pocket passer. 247Sports pegged him as the 20th best “pocket passer” in the Class of 2019. He had offers from a slew of Power 5 schools, such as Georgia, West Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and numerous others.
His gut pushed him to Missouri, he said, even though his dad was a college basketball star at Dartmouth and his two sisters are athletes – one plays volleyball, one plays basketball – at Duquesne. Bazelak (a basketball talent in his own right, as he averaged 16 points per game at Alter last season) had offers from both schools.
“With Duquesne being in Pittsburgh, I was looking at Pitt because it’s higher level football that I think I can play at,” Bazelak said. “I wanted to play at the highest level but also get a good degree, and I think I’ll be able to do that at Missouri.”
Bazelak hit it off with Tigers offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Derek Dooley, who he talked to multiple times throughout his recruitment. He also connected with offensive mainstays Paul Adams and Drew Lock on his official visit.
Then, he made contact with a future Tiger like himself: Missouri offensive line commit Jack Buford, who teased Bazelak’s commitment on Sunday and tweeted his congratulations to Bazelak on Sunday night.
“Jack and I, we’ve texted a bit. I know he was kind of recruiting me a little before I committed. The day I committed, we texted and we’re even starting to recruit some other guys to get that 2019 class going even more.”
Bazelak said he’s one of 30 seniors returning to Alter this year, so there’s plenty of excitement for his senior season. Then he’ll have a chance to prove that a wishbone quarterback can run the spread at Missouri.