Ohio State's Tressel surprised by Pryor's honor

July, 27, 2009
7/27/09
1:35
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

CHICAGO -- The media's pick of Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor as Big Ten preseason Offensive Player of the Year came as a surprise to many, including Pryor's head coach.

The Big Ten preseason honors usually go to juniors and seniors, and Pryor is the first sophomore to earn the tag since another Ohio State player, running back Maurice Clarett, received it in 2003.

"I really was [surprised]," Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "When it was mentioned, I got to thinking there's a lot of good guys coming back in this league. Daryll Clark and Juice Williams have been around for a long, long time, and you can go down the list of guys in our league."

Pryor earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors last fall after ascending to the starting job in Week 4. He led the league in passing efficiency (146.5) but struggled at times with his throws.

Potential undoubtedly triggered Pryor's selection, and the most heralded recruit in recent Big Ten history certainly has the skills, especially as a runner, to do special things this fall. Last year he rushed for 631 yards and six touchdowns.

"It's a good reminder, from an individual standpoint, the respect they have for his ability," Tressel said. "It was a little bit of a surprise, but it's a neat thing."

Note: Tressel will get summer-school grades for his players on Thursday but expects everyone to be ready for the start of preseason camp. Running back recruit Jaamal Berry "won't be held back" because of his ongoing legal issues stemming from a June arrest for marijuana possession.

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