We’re nearly a week past national signing day, and recruiting wars have reached fever pitch. Rich Rodriguez has been busy luring away prized recruits who had already verbally committed elsewhere, proving once again that a new day has dawned in Ann Arbor. (For details, see a piping mad Joe Tiller of Purdue.) Jim Tressel has been busy assuring his recruits that the letters many of them received saying their scholarships had been revoked were actually fake and that, yes indeed, Ohio State would still like them to play. (Can somebody get a penmanship sample from Rodriguez?)
But for hype, potential impact and comic relief, no recruiting story can touch the ongoing saga that is Terrelle Pryor.
For those of you living in caves and ditches, Pryor is this season’s uber-recruit: a dual threat quarterback out of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, who has been rated the nation’s number one high school player, hailed as the next Vince Young, and is probably, as I write, making a list of products he’d like to endorse when he goes pro in a couple of years. Pryor was set to sign with Ohio State last Wednesday, but put off the decision at the last minute to consider other options: options that include Penn State, Oregon, and a certain school up north. With this in mind, I have a suggestion for Jim Tressel:
Show up at Pryor’s house with a copy of Forbes’ recently released list of America’s Most Miserable Cities and a map. The pitch would go something like this:
See number one on that list, Terrelle, the most miserable place in America? That’s right, Detroit. Now, see number three on that list, the place only a little less miserable than Detroit? Yep, Flint. What do these cities have in common besides violent crime, joblessness and toxic waste?
They’re both less than an hour from Ann Arbor.
Now let’s get you fitted for that Buckeye jersey.
Of course, this assumes Ohio State still wants Pryor. I’m not about to suggest the Bucks pass on the next Vince Young, but I do think before we hang our hopes on one player’s shoulders we would do well to remember that those shoulders belong to an 18-year old kid—a kid who, like all kids, comes with a bit of uncertainty, as his signing day surprise revealed. One has to ask: is his decision to delay signing an honest attempt to review his options or a calculated publicity stunt? Is Pryor a dedicated team player or a punk prima donna? The next Vince Young or the next Maurice Clarett?
The answer is hard to pin down, even for Pryor it seems. In an interview on signing day, Pryor described himself as a shy kid who doesn’t like the spotlight. Moments later, when asked what he liked best about the recruiting process, he replied: “Everyone knowing my name.”
Pryor is either a master of irony or totally confused. Or maybe just an 18-year old kid still getting used to the limelight.
The good news is, no matter what Pryor decides, the Buckeyes have already garnered college football’s ninth best recruiting class, a class currently anchored by the nation’s third ranked player, offensive lineman Mike Adams. Of course, with Pryor, the Bucks would have two out of the top three recruits, and the possibility of a dual threat, two quarterback rotation next year surrounded by top flight receivers, a powerful line, a runningback already on the short list for next year’s Heisman, and a defense anchored by the returning Butkus award winner. Without Pryor, we’ll have all of the above, except the dual threat QB will be named Antonio Henton.
So make your choice, Terrelle: do you want a shot at a national title next year with the nation’s top offensive lineman blocking for you, or do you want proximity to toxic waste?
The Buckeyes will be okay either way.