After weeks of wondering and weighing options, quarterback Ryan Connors of Hart High has decided to attend a one-year preparatory school for the Naval Academy in Newport, R. I., with hopes of attending Navy the following year.
Connors, the first player in Southern Section history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season and The Times' All-Valley back of the year in 1991, said he will suit up next fall against other preparatory schools and freshman teams from the Ivy League. Connors said he will not lose a year of college eligibility.
"It came down to many factors, not just football or college," he said. "There are a lot more opportunities and job openings if I go to the Navy. The problem was with the commitment. . . . But I figured if I bust my buns while I'm there, it will pay off in the end."
Many figured Connors would cash in sooner with an NCAA Division I scholarship. Directing a potent run-and-shoot offense, Connors (6-feet, 185 pounds) passed for 4,144 yards and 39 touchdowns last season while leading Hart to a Foothill League title and the Southern Section Division III semifinals.
Connors drew interest from several schools, including Miami, Nebraska and UCLA. However, he repeatedly was passed over, most likely because of his height, Hart Coach Mike Herrington said, and remained unsigned last month when high school seniors signed letters of intent.
"He's definitely disappointed that he didn't get a Division I offer," Herrington said.
Connors, Hart's career passing leader with 6,959 yards, made recruiting visits to Army, Navy and Northeastern and considered attending Colorado as a walk-on.
Connors also had hinted that he would attend a local junior college or Cal State Northridge.