TQ - Will Terrelle Pryor Live Up To The Hype?
Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor
Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor
Posted Apr 1, 2008

Tuesday Question - Terrelle Pryor … make a call. What's he really going to do?

Past TQs
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- Best & Curious Coaching Hires

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Pete Fiutak     

Q: Terrelle Pryor … make a call. What’s he really going to do?

: I know Pryor is supposed to be the real deal. I know that he has all the talent to be a superstar of Vince Young-like proportions, and I know that Ohio State fans see him as the missing piece to get over the hump and win a second national title in six years. Sorry, but I'll believe it all when he actually does something.

I'd like to get all caught up in the mania, I really would, but I've heard this story before.

Ronald Curry was a can't-miss superstar who was going to become a college football legend and perhaps win multiple Heismans. Just like Ryan Perrilloux. Just like Lorenzo Booker. Just like Ron Powlus. Just like Carlos Snow. Just like Ben Olson. Just like Derrick Williams. Just like a bazillion other high school superstars you could name.

Here's the big problem when it comes to top recruits who come in with ridiculous expectations: the hype machine treats star football prospects like star basketball prospects, and it's a different process.

A Michael Beasley or a Kevin Love can instantly take a college basketball team and make it special, and a player of that caliber would be a top five NBA pick right out of high school. Football players, even the great ones, aren't pro prospects until a few years of work. Beasley has tens of millions of dollars waiting for him, but David Stern forced him to go through the pretense of being a college student for a year. Pryor probably thinks he's an NFL star in the making, and he probably is, but it's not a given by any stretch. Beasley would've been the third pick in the 2007 NBA Draft right out of high school. Pryor probably wouldn't be drafted in this year's NFL Draft, and if he was, it would be a late round shot in the dark. Even if Pryor is great, it takes something very special to make the next jump into NFL stardom. It also takes something special to be a college football star.

Football is a cruel, cruel sport, and it requires years of seasoning before becoming an NFL star. Honestly, raise your hand if you knew a few years ago that Matt Ryan was going to be a top five pick. Honestly, raise your hand if you thought a few years ago that Kyle Wright was destined to be an NFL sure-thing?

Vince Young never won a Heisman (although he should've). Colt Brennan and Chase Daniel were Heisman finalists last year and weren't exactly household names on the recruiting trail. It all just means Pryor has the expectations jacked up ten-fold because of how the recruiting process played out, and then there will be a bunch of no-names who own the college football world a few years from now.

Pryor won't have a dull career. Either he'll win a national title and/or a Heisman, or his time at Ohio State will be considered an utter failure. And what if he loses to Michigan? And what if he loses to Michigan more than once? It's not fair, but that's the deal when you're supposed to be that good.

Even with all the hype and all the history going against Pryor, the parallels to Tim Tebow and Florida are just too delicious. Here comes the star freshman to be sprinkled in here and there to add a bolt of excitement while the steady but unspectacular incumbent keeps the seat warm. I won't be shocked if it plays out exactly like that with the Buckeyes winning the 2008 national championship.

Can Pryor live up to the promise and potential like Tebow? As a college football fan I hope so, but my guess is that he'll be terrific, have a great career by most standards, and won't live up to the hype.

Richard Cirminiello      

Q: Terrelle Pryor … make a call. What’s he really going to do?

: Setting aside the enormous amount of hype he’s received and will continue to get, there are few good reasons to believe Pryor will be as good as advertised, as long as he can handle all of the scrutiny.  Yeah, you can pick apart his ability to read defenses and his technique isn’t flawless, but every high school quarterback begins college with some areas of improvement.  However, almost none of those players possess Pryor’s blend of athleticism and arm strength in a 6-6, 225-pound frame.  He’s a rare athlete that can play about eight different positions on the field if given the time to digest a playbook.  With that in mind, these are my Pryor expectations for the next four seasons.           

Year 1: Pryor will rise to No. 2 on the depth chart behind Todd Boeckman, occasionally whetting the appetite of Buckeye fans and causing sophomore Antonio Henton to consider transferring to another school.

Year 2: The Terrelle Pryor era begins at Ohio State with mixed results, but a strong enough finish to get real excited about 2010.

Year 3: Pryor emerges as one of the game’s most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks, contending for the Heisman Trophy and leading the Buckeyes to national championship contention.

Year 4: A mature, polished, and filled-out Pryor foregoes his final year of eligibility, leaving for the NFL, which considers him to be a top 5 selection in the 2011 draft.  Basically, I’m expecting him to follow a similar trajectory as the one Vince Young traveled in Austin.

Of course, busts happen during every recruiting cycle, so there are no guarantees, even for a player of Pryor’s caliber and advanced billing.  However, as long as he doesn’t get consumed by the hype and surrounds himself with the right people, only the natural born contrarian or Buckeye-hater doesn’t see this kid developing into one of the game’s dominant players in a couple of years.  As good as Troy Smith was in Columbus, winning the 2006 Heisman, Pryor appears to have a much higher ceiling at similar stages of their careers.

Matthew Zemek

Q: Terrelle Pryor … make a call. What’s he really going to do?

: To hype a young man (or predict his spectacular fall from grace) after a major recruiting/commitment announcement is one of the ugliest and most soul-destroying aspects of the college sports industry.
Sure, a lot of people in Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere have been breathlessly tethered to Terrelle Pryor's every waking breath in recent weeks, and will be fixated on the lad when Labor Day arrives. How about we let a kid be a kid, hard as that instinct might be to cultivate inside ourselves.
A prediction? Here's a safe one: Pryor will learn a lot about himself in his freshman year, and we'll see how he handles it... as a human person (and not just a football player). Best of luck, young man. Be humble, work hard, and do what's in front of you each day.