All right Mr. Pryor, it’s time to show us what you got.
The much-ballyhooed dual threat QB from Jeannette, Pa., will enter the fall season as the centerpiece of the Ohio State Buckeyes' offense. Gone is top pass-catcher Brian Robiskie and the bulldozing Chris Wells. Veteran QB Todd Boeckman is off to greener pastures.
Yes, it’s clearly "The Terrelle Pryor Show" now in Columbus. Will the soon to be sophomore rise to the challenge and become the superstar we expect him to be?
What’s the scoop?
Though we’ve been hearing about Pryor’s talents for roughly two years now, let’s not forget that one year ago he was still playing basketball for the Jeannette Jayhawks.
Heck, he hadn’t even officially signed with the Buckeyes yet; that came in March 2008.
With Boeckman returning for his senior year, Pryor was expected to play a small role in the Ohio State offense in 2008. However, after Boeckman struggled early, head coach Jim Tressel made the move to throw his prized recruit into the fire.
Considering the circumstances, Pryor performed pretty well on the big stage. His running ability was undeniable. He did struggle somewhat in the passing game, though.
At times, his unorthodox throwing motion and spotty accuracy made people wonder if Pryor would be better suited to give another position a try. But then they remembered that the kid was still only a true freshman.
He will get better.
From a fantasy standpoint, it might be a good thing that Pryor’s talents are still raw. He’s not enough of a polished passer to solely rely on that part of his game. When in doubt, the 6’6 wunderkind will continue to do what he does best: tuck it and run. And as we all know, rushing yards/TDs can rack up the fantasy points quickly.
The fact that Wells is gone isn’t a bad thing either. Without a proven bruiser in the backfield, Pryor becomes a very enticing option for the Buckeye play callers when they are near the goal line.
Pryor will certainly benefit from having an entire offseason to work with his coaches and teammates. Given the losses on offense, the coaches will be looking for ways to maximize Pryor’s talents.
The question is this. How far will Tressel go to tailor the offense to get the most out of his QB?
Can you imagine Pryor in a true spread offense?
To project Pryor’s stats for 2009, let’s take a look back at the career of Troy Smith, another star Buckeye QB who started out as a dual threat.
2005: Passing 2,282 yards, 16 TDs; Rushing 611 yards, 11 TDs
2006: Passing 2,542 yards, 30 TDs; Rushing 204 yards, 1 TD
By 2008’s standards, the Troy Smith of 2005 would’ve been ranked as the #18 fantasy QB in all-120 leagues (No. 8 in BCS-only leagues). The 2006 Smith would’ve ranked as the No. 26 QB (all-120) and No. 13 (BCS-only) in 2008.
2008: Passing 1,311 yards, 12 TDs; Rushing 631 yards, 6 TDs
2009 Projection: Passing 2,200 yards, 16 TDs; Rushing 850 yards, 12 TDs
I think there are many similarities between the ‘05 Smith and the ‘09 Pryor. At this stage of their careers, both had yet to perfect the art of passing and thus relied much more on their running ability.
If your college fantasy football draft was today (2/24/09).
Terrelle Pryor projects to be a Top 20 QB in all-120 leagues (I have him ranked at No. 20), and a Top 10 QB in BCS-only leagues.
He’s obviously a talent oozing with upside. Because of his high school lore and hype, don’t be surprised if an owner overpays slightly to get him.
Todd DeVries writes for CollegeFootballGeek.com. This article can be found there, as well.