AT COLORADO: This Season (Soph.)-He enters the fall atop the depth chart at punter for the second straight year, except this time he has a full year under his belt practicing his trade, whereas a year ago he had a single spring practice. He is one of 25 players on the official preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award (one of 44 on a similar list for the College Football Performance Awards punter of the year). A former walk-on, he was placed on scholarship permanently beginning in the 2012 spring semester.
2011 (Fr.-RS)-He became just the fifth player in CU history to serve as the team's regular punter as a freshman, joining Stan Koleski ('73), Andy Mitchell ('94), Matt DiLallo ('06) and teammate Zach Grossnickle ('10); his 74 punts were the most ever by a Buff frosh, breaking Grossnickle's record of 60. He played in all 13 games, and by the end of the season, he had become just the seventh walk-on to play as a true freshman since 1986, and would be rewarded by earning a scholarship. He earned second-team Freshman All-American honors from both collegefootballnews.com and Phil Steele's College Football and was a rivals.com first-team Freshman All-Pac 12 performer. Phil Steele's also tabbed him mid-season third-team All-Pac 12. He was a three-time honorable mention Intersport Performer of the Week selection fort his efforts against Colorado State (43.7 average on seven punts), Oregon (43.2, 12) and UCLA (44.0, 6). He averaged 42.6 yards per punt, with a 38.8 net figure; 21 of his 74 kicks placed inside-the-20 (eight inside-the-10, three inside-the-5) and 17 traveling 50 yards or longer with 57 his longest. His 21-to-2 ratio of inside-the-20 punts to touchbacks was fourth best in the nation and only 29 were returned, the longest for 31 yards; 20 were fair caught. He averaged 43.5 yards for 19 punts inside the CU 25, and 43.4 on 65 boots from the 50 or further out. His 42.6 average was the second-best by a freshman in the nation, trailing only LSU's Brad Wing (44.4 on 59 punts); it was the second highest ever by a CU frosh, behind a 43.7 figure in 2006 by DiLallo. The 74 punts were the second most for a single-season in school history, well over the previous most by a freshman, 47, also by DiLallo; his net average of 38.8 set a CU freshman record, besting DiLallo's 38.5 mark. Against Oregon, he placed six punts inside-the-20, setting a CU single-game record as it topped the five that Mitch Berger had against Texas in 1993; four of those were inside-the-10, also a school best as several had done it three times. He joined the team as a walk-on in spring practices, trying out as a punter; it was the first time he had ever played organized football.
2010 (Fr.)-He attended Colorado as a student, but was not a member of the football team; however, his NCAA "clock" started once he enrolled and started taking classes.
HIGH SCHOOL-He lettered three times in both basketball and soccer for Boulder's Fairview High. He was the Max Preps Player of the Year as a senior in basketball, earning first-team All-Colorado, All-State (5A) and All-Front Range League honors in leading Fairview to a 22-6 record and to the state championship game (where the Knights lost to Regis, 68-58). He averaged 23.4 points per game (609 total in 28 games), with a career-high of 42 against Chatfield, a game in which he went 21-of-23 from the free throw line. He had nine games with 30 or more points, eclipsing 40 on two occasions. In fact, he made 191 of 213 free throws on the year (89.7 percent), shot 49 percent from the field (30-of-85 three pointers, 35 percent) and also averaged 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.2 assists per game. As a junior, he averaged 10.5 points, 2.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game as Fairview was 26-1, not losing until the state semifinal game against George Washington (76-74). FHS was 62-18 in his three varsity seasons under coach Frank Lee, which included back-to-back 11-0 records in Front Range League play his junior and senior years. In soccer, playing forward for coach Stan Jozwiak, he scored 35 goals in his three-year career, including 13 his senior season when he earned honorable mention All-State honors. He had 12 goals as a junior and 10 as a sophomore.
ACADEMICS-He is majoring in Business (Accounting) at Colorado.
PERSONAL-He was born December 21, 1991 in Cork, Ireland (the southernmost major city in the country, about 10 miles inland from the Celtic Sea). His family moved to the United States when he was three, but all their relatives are still in Ireland and they visit there every summer. His father, Colm, is the owner and proprietor of Boulder's popular restaurant, Conor O'Neill's, located on 13th Street just off Boulder's famous Pearl Street Mall. A younger brother, Shane, was a high school soccer All-American and signed with the Colorado Rapids organization in the summer of 2012. The University of Denver recruited him as a basketball player. (First name is pronounced Dar-uh.)
ADDITIONAL STATISTICS-Special Team Tackles: 3,0-3 (2011). (Net Yards includes touchback yardage.)