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Danny O'Neil has passed all his tests with flying colors for Indianapolis Cathedral

This past spring, Indianapolis Cathedral head football coach Bill Peebles called the 6-foot-1, 185-pound standout “the best quarterback I have had the pleasure of coaching.”

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Danny O'Neil has certainly lived up to his billing.

This past spring, Indianapolis Cathedral head football coach Bill Peebles called the 6-foot-1, 185-pound standout "the best quarterback I have had the pleasure of coaching."

The numbers speak for themselves as the senior signal-caller has completed 479-of-764 attempts for 6,271 yards with 73 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over a career that has spanned just 35 games.

He has also guided the Irish to the 2021 Class 5A state championship and a spot in the Class 6A final four (losing to eventual three-time state champion Center Grove in the semistate) last fall.

"That is an honor to hear," O'Neil said. "There have been so many great quarterbacks to come through Cathedral and I know Coach Peebles has had a bunch of talented guys at other schools too. Coach and I have had a really good relationship over the last few years and I only expect it to grow as this season goes along."

Since taking over the top spot as a sophomore, O'Neil has already established himself as the Irish's career leader in passing yards, touchdown passes, pass completions, and pass attempts.

"The stats and personal accolades are cool to have my name next to, but I haven't really thought of them too much," O'Neil explained. "The only legacy I care about leaving is being a winner and going out my senior year with another state championship."

Although the dream of an unbeaten season ended with a 45-31 loss to Brownsburg on August 25, O'Neil is now focused on the home opener on September 1 when Cathedral (1-1) hosts Penn (2-0) at Arlington Field.

"Danny has become a true coach on the field," Peebles said. "He is involved in game planning and I value his input as a student of the game. He has been heavily involved in our off-season leadership development program and led multiple efforts in the community for service opportunities.

"Not only is he a heck of a player, but he is a heck of a young man. I have been blessed to coach him."

This is not just another contest for O'Neil, though, whose father (Mike O'Neil) played for the Kingsmen and Indiana Football Hall of Fame coach Chris Geesman.

"Yeah, my dad definitely has his fair share of football stories," recalled O'Neil, who was 22-of-39 for 388 yards with four touchdowns against Brownsburg. "From the time I can remember, me and him would be playing catch in the backyard. My whole life has been about ball and he has been there to support me every step of the way.

"Cathedral is a special place and a special locker room. I grew up only thinking about here. I really grew up running around the halls of Cathedral during my sister's volleyball games, so there was no other option for me."

Although he was gifted with plenty of athletic ability, participating in his fair share of camps also proved to be critical in his development.

"One thing with camps is you will either get exposure or you are going to get exposed," explained O'Neil. "Being prepared for camps is huge, but going to them and trying to be the most coachable player there and then trying to soak up all the information that whatever coach you are with are huge things. You always want to add skills and tools into your toolbox. Then, you can pick and choose what you like and is most comfortable for you to get you prepared for games."

Since receiving his first official NCAA Division 1 offer from Toledo prior to the start of his sophomore campaign, O'Neil has dealt with his fair share of publicity when it came to his future plans.

"I would say to keep in contact with everyone that shows interest and never to burn a bridge because you never know where that coach will be in a year or two," O'Neil said. "Another thing is just to go someplace that really wants you and is dying to have you there. Don't go somewhere that only will take you if someone else says no."

When all was said and done, O'Neil decided on the University of Colorado and the opportunity to play for Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.

"I'm very excited to play for Coach Prime (Sanders)," O'Neil said. "I love everything he is about. He loves working hard and grinding, and he not only coaches you about football, but he really is a great Christian man which was important for me and my family. (Offensive coordinator) Coach (Sean) Lewis is another huge reason I chose Colorado. He is a family man and I hold my family above all else as well."

Before heading off to Boulder, Colorado, though, O'Neil is focused on playing his final high school game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"This year's team is a very connected group," O'Neil said. "We all have a good time together and are getting better every week. Game plans are going to change week by week and we knew we could beat Lafayette Jeff (55-14) in the run game, so we wanted to pound it while using the passing game to keep them honest.

"I know there will be some weeks where it is just the opposite and we are going to have to pass it much more (Brownsburg). Whatever it takes to win is what we are willing to do. For us to win state, it is going to take all of us coming together and sacrificing together to beat some teams. We know we have the talent to get it done, now it just comes to execution.

"Coach Peebles has done a great job implementing missions for us to accomplish and installing leadership into us from when we were underclassmen until now."

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