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Pryor taking the road less travelled

Written by Mark Smith
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I remember when I was jealous of Terrelle Pryor. He seemed to have it all: he was the star quarterback of Ohio State University, he’d led his team to two-straight BCS bowl wins, and at 6’6” tall and 230 pounds he is a man among boys on the field.

I’m not as jealous of him anymore.

He’s still a great football player, but he looks more human now. After an enormous scandal at Ohio State, causing head coach Jim Tressel’s resignation, Pryor declared that he would forgo his senior year at OSU instead of serving the five-game suspension the NCAA levied against him for trading memorabilia for tattoos. The NCAA is still investigating the situation.

It’s a shame it had to end this way.

He had a great college career. Hopefully that is what he will be remembered for, not the scandal. A starter since freshman year, Pryor led the Buckeyes to double-digit wins and a BCS bowl game in each of his three seasons. Last year, Pryor’s most impressive, he threw for 2,772 yards and 27 touchdowns while leading the Buckeyes to a 12-1 record, including their win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

Now he doesn’t know what he will do next football season.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League want him. He doesn’t want them. Pryor wants the NFL, and he wants it now. The UFL is also a possible destination for him.

Pryor has applied for the NFL’s supplemental draft. I’d never heard of this draft before, but basically teams submit their picks, and the team with the highest pick receives the rights to the player but loses that pick in next year’s draft. And, despite the lockout, the supplemental draft is expected to take place in July.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Pryor is worth, at best, a fourth round draft pick. He’s a spectacular athlete, but an unpolished passer who really needs coaching and training before he can be an effective NFL quarterback.

It’s not the transition to professional football he envisioned. A five game suspension turning into a skipped senior season, a missed shot at the NFL draft, a future full of uncertainty and questions, and a tainted legacy. He was a great college player, and I hope his professional dreams work out. Though he’s not a great passer, he has great potential.

I don’t envy his current situation, but Pryor is still a promising player with raw talent, size, and speed, things you can’t coach. He’s got a shot. Not the same shot he would’ve had without the scandal, suspension, and skipped senior year, but he’s got a shot.

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