O'Neil: 'Didn't want to miss a great opportunity'

Buckingham Browne & Nichols tight end Brendan O'Neil said there was no timetable for selecting the school where he would play college football, but the process was accelerated following his second visit to Wake Forest.

That's when O'Neil learned that in many cases scholarships are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.

“They didn't put any pressure on me or anything like that,” O'Neil explained. “It wasn't like they were trying to rush me. They just told me that one tight end/receiver had already committed and there was room for one more, but they had offers out to a couple other guys who had the opportunity to play there. I didn't want to miss out on a great opportunity at Wake Forest.”

O'Neil, who recently completed his junior year at BB&N, committed to Wake Forest last Thursday. He is rated as a two-star prospect and the No. 6 recruit from Massachusetts in the Class of 2013. O'Neil, who lives in Burlington, also had scholarship offers from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Temple. Wake Forest offered him a scholarship in April.

“I visited Wake Forest over spring break, and gave them my highlight tape then,” he said. “I was looking for a school with great football and great academics.”

O'Neil took unofficial visits to Connecticut, Massachusetts and Wake Forest, and had narrowed his choice to Connecticut or Wake Forest before he visited Wake Forest a second time earlier this month.

“I went to Wake Forest a second time to make sure I was comfortable,” O'Neil said. “It was beneficial. I got a better feel for it. I didn't get to meet all of the coaches during my first trip.

“I was going back and forth between UConn and Wake. UConn has great facilities, I liked that it was close to home and the coaches seemed like good guys, but I liked Wake a lot.”

O'Neil, who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 230 pounds, said the Wake Forest coaches told him they wanted to bring in a tight end who was a good receiver, but also a good blocker.

“They told me they see me as someone who can do both,” O'Neil said.

“They have a pretty balanced offense as far as the tight end is concerned. The coaches told me they liked the fact that I didn't get caught from behind on any of my plays [on his highlight tape] so I have the speed to stretch the field. They also said they liked some of my defensive plays [at defensive end]. They like to see some chippiness.”

Boston College High offensive tackle Jack McDonald and Tabor Academy offensive tackle Tevin Montgomery are the top-rated uncommitted recruits from Massachusetts in the Class of 2013. Both are three-star recruits.

“Wake Forest has a philosophy that whoever the best player is will play,” O'Neil said. “If I can beat out some guys I'll play. If not, I'll likely redshirt.”