At 6’6”, 240 pounds, high school phenom Terrelle Pryor was a highly sought-after 2008 recruit from the small town of Jeanette, Pennsylvania.
Big-time football programs in Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Oregon recruited him heavily, with the Buckeyes being awarded the top Pennsylvania talent a month after National Signing Day.
The news broke the hearts of Nittany Lion fans everywhere.
Pryor decided to hold off on naming the school he would attend until after his high school basketball team’s state championship game. Under pressure from his father to give Penn State another shot, he finally announced his decision on March 15, in what Sports Illustrated called the “most anticipated in history.”
But now, nearly two years later, Lions fans are breathing a huge sigh of relief. And they thank Mr. Pryor.
Maybe we all should have known the moment he reached for the Ohio State hat and announced his planned attendance to “the University of Ohio State.”
Or when he reasoned his “Vick” eye black because “everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me.”
Lapses in judgment and word order deficiencies aside, Pryor has shown some raw talent on the field. With a deceptive ability to move outside the pocket and make things happen with his feet, the Ohio State offense depends heavily on his legs just as much as his arm.
The only problem is that Pryor hasn’t stepped up when it matters the most and become the leader head coach Jim Tressel has been hoping for. The only real competitions Pryor has faced ended in a loss for the Buckeyes.
As sweet as it was for Penn State fans to witness his late-game fumble in last year’s match-up at the Shoe, the fact is that in his two-year career, he’s also lost to Texas, USC (twice), and unranked Purdue.
Unfortunately for the 2009 season, he’s been worse. Pryor has tended to make shaky decisions and inaccurate reads downfield, throwing random deep balls and hoping for the big play.
That hasn’t worked.
Ohio State now ranks 91st in the nation in total yardage and 101st in passing yardage, with Pryor throwing eight interceptions and losing five fumbles in just seven games.
And all because he wanted his name on the back of his jersey.
Had he been under the wing of a solid coaching staff and dual-threat quarterback in State College, things might have turned out differently for him. Then again, maybe not.
Which is a big reason Penn State fans are glad to have quarterback Daryll Clark still leading the team, and with freshman talent available in Kevin Newsome.
It seems as though Ohio State has finally caught its own version of Penn State’s Anthony Morelli Syndrome, where the program is stuck with an incapable quarterback who showed inklings of star talent, but never quite became a sure-fire leader.
The future at the quarterback position for the Buckeyes, however, will remain with Terrelle Pryor until he either turns himself around or the coaching staff decides to make a change. Either way, Ohio State is heading downhill fast – and with a challenging schedule still ahead.