In 2008, former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was the No. 1 high school football player in the nation, and one of the most sought after recruits of the past decade. He waited until the last moment to commit to a college team (had been interested in Florida, Michigan, Penn State, Oregon, and Pittsburgh also), and finally decided on the Buckeyes. Columbus, Ohio rejoiced. Former Ohio State football head coach was going to bring in Pryor, and finally get back to, and win, the national championship.
In 2011, amid brewing controversies about his involvement in the selling of sign Ohio State football merchandise in exchange for tattoos, and his involvement in a long-time car dealership loaning service, he left the university. This would have been his senior season, but as he began to feel the heat of the NCAA down his back, closing in on his “secrets”, after Tressel had resigned because his “secrets” have been revealed, he left.
Oh how the times have changed from his freshman year – sitting on the bench – with a lot of hype to his name. Columbus, Ohio, is rightfully upset at their presumed “star quarterback.”
The Tressel situation has been well documented, thanks to Sports Illustrated, but the Pryor situation is just beginning to play out. He’s gone. He won’t be the quarterback this season… and he doesn’t know if he’ll be the quarterback anywhere this season.
For Pryor, he came out today and said he didn’t want to play in the Canadian Football League, after reports that a team from that league was in pursuit of his rights to sign him. Pryor said he wants to be focused on the NFL.
ESPN’s NFL Draft expert, Mel Kiper Jr., says he’ll be a tight end.
So a career goes down the drain in Columbus. The person who once held the weight of a city on his shoulders to produce a national title, is now gone – hated in the city which once beloved him.
Leaving school, Pryor will not go down as a great Ohio State quarterbacks – as he could have been the best in a string of good ones, Troy Smith, Craig Krentzel, etc. No, he will go down as a quitter. A selfish player, who believed his own hype and didn’t live up to it.
He was one of the most sought after recruits in the nation in 2008, and one of the most sought after in this decade. The 6-foot-6 juggernaut QB, will go down as one of the poorest results of the No. 1 high school ranking.
Prior to 2008, Rivals.com kept prospect rankings beginning in 2002. Vince Young (’02, Texas), Ernie Sims (’03, Florida State), Adrian Peterson (’04, Oklahoma), Derrick Williams (’05, Penn State), Percy Harvin (’06, Florida), Jimmy Clausen (’07, Notre Dame), and Pryor (’08 Ohio State).
One can make an argument that each No. 1-ranked player before Pryor had a better career – oodles better in some cases. Players like Young, Peterson and Harvin were tremendously successful in their careers – whether they brought Heisman Trophies or crystal balls out of their college careers.
Sims was exceedingly successful for his position. He was also the second best player from his recruiting class. Reggie Bush, although his legacy is tampered with now, was a better recruit than Sims. Williams and Clausen, too, were more successful than Pryor.
Even more, Pryor wasn’t the best player or quarterback in his recruiting class. DaQuan Bowers (Clemson), Julio Jones (Alabama), AJ Green (Georgia), Will Hill (Florida), Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), Brandon Harris (Miami). Those are just a few names you could put ahead of Pryor’s.
Also, enter Blaine Gabbert, the quarterback from that class who turned out to be the best. Pryor doesn’t compare.
Now while Pryor’s pro potential is no where near the other players I’ve compared him too, that is not the sole purpose why I’m calling him such a disappointment. His college career was even disappointing up until the day he quit the team, dropped out of the school, and looked to the future.
Pryor might have won a couple Big Ten titles, but none resulted in a title game appearance. Pryor’s best game overall was the Rose Bowl game against Oregon two years ago. Not once did he end the season in the top five voting for the Heisman Trophy. He was never the player everyone expected him to be. He was never the best quarterback in the nation – he probably was never one of the top five or ten quarterbacks in the nation.
This past year will go down as his final season as Ohio State’s quarterback, and maybe his final season as a quarterback in his life. Andrew Luck (Stanford), Nick Foles (Arizona), Cam Newton (Auburn), Blaine Gabbert (Missouri), Landry Jones (Oklahoma), Matt Barkley (USC), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), Kellen Moore (Boise State), Russell Wilson (North Carolina State), Andy Dalton (TCU), Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Denard Robinson (Michigan). Those are just a few quarterbacks better than him last season… don’t make me list all the seasons before.
One person I mentioned, Cam Newton, is like the man Pryor never was. The way Newton produced, won a Heisman, and won a national championship all in one season, that’s kind of the expectations that were laid on Pryor. And don’t even get me started about the comparisons of the teams. Ohio State probably had better support for Pryor than Newton had. But Newton was legendary, Godly. He won a title in his first season as a starting quarterback. He came from a junior college national title, to Auburn to win a national title. That’s a hell of a two year run.
Sorry for Columbus, that was never Pryor. Tressel recruited the wrong guy. Pryor never showed the leadership or superstar ability that was expected of him. Moreover, he failed the school, and failed himself.
His talent, so hyped, turned out to be stoppable. His leadership turned out to be weak. His credentials out of college turned out to be empty. He was a disappointment, and a lot of people are putting the blame on him for Tressel’s resignation. Now, Tressel deserves all of the blame – he dug his own hole. Pryor is totally different. He took part in what Tressel allowed to happen.
Pryor didn’t live up to the hype. He didn’t deliver, especially in the clutch. And he wont be a quarterback anywhere except the Canadian Football League.