Terrelle Pryor Has Completed His Stunning Fall From Grace
Four years ago, Terrelle Pryor was the man to take Ohio State back to the top.
The quarterback signed with the Buckeyes after being pursued by numerous schools, including Big Ten powers Michigan and Penn State. Pryor was tabbed as the next Vince Young—a player that would revolutionize college football with his rocket arm and blazing speed.
Flash forward to the present day and there isn't a man or woman related to Ohio State that would be caught in the same room as him. Pryor is the catalyst of Jim Tressel's fall from grace, which stemmed from his efforts to subvert the truth about his quarterback's indiscretions.
There are many guilty parties in this sordid tale, but the primary story will be the hubris of the young quarterback. Pryor believed he was untouchable simply because he was the star of the Ohio State football team.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that taking money for autograph signings, on Ohio State gear, nonetheless, is a violation of NCAA rules. Sadly, that's just the tip of the iceberg as far as Pryor's misdeeds go.
Tressel brought Pryor in on the promise that he would make him a better man, and in the process, make him an NFL quarterback. Four years later, it was obvious that the coach's words were nothing more than a facade, and Pryor couldn't be further away from the pro level.
Ohio State's collapse is symptomatic of the college football landscape, where stars are coddled from a young age and told that they are the next crop of legends. The spotlight inevitably brings temptation and the weak stray from the rules.
Pryor had character issues back when he was in high school, yet they were brushed aside because coaches all over the country saw wins, and that's the only thing that mattered.
During his tenure with the Buckeyes, the quarterback won, and did it at a clip in line with the lofty standards the program aspired to each year, although he never reached the national title game.
Winning only inflated Pryor's already massive ego, and he got more brazen, driving flashy cars and buying clothes that he couldn't afford.
Sooner or later, he was going to get caught, and when he did, his coach covered for him.
In the Ohio State community, no one wants to believe that this man of God—this icon of college football—could have been just as bad as every coach and program the Buckeye fans looked down upon from their ivory tower.
In the end, that's why Pryor is the obvious bad guy here. He is the one who committed the violations and he is the one who decided his education at Ohio State wasn't enough.
Tressel is a legend to fans of Ohio State, and if he's the villain, it means that all of the wins the Buckeyes notched during his tenure would be tainted.
It is just easier to blame Pryor—easier to brush it off as a couple of rogue players who strayed from the rules—than deal with the truth.
Pryor may be the sinner in the eyes of Ohio State fans, but it was Tressel who created the atmosphere that allowed this to happen and he didn't do anything to stop it.
Tressel will never truly get the blame that he deserves for this mess, and his quarterback will be forever vilified as the man who was tabbed to be a legend but ended up bringing down one of the best coaches in Ohio State history.