Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Updated: February 7, 1:53 AM ET
Pryor not ready to sign letter of intent
JEANNETTE, Pa. -- Terrelle Pryor's decision -- or, actually,
non-decision -- gives Penn State coach Joe Paterno and Oregon coach
Mike Bellotti a second chance. Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez gets a
reprieve, if only a temporary one.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who expected a firm Pryor
commitment on Wednesday? He is getting a lot more nervous.
Pryor, the Pittsburgh-area quarterback who is considered the
nation's top unsigned high school football recruit, backed off his
apparent choice of Ohio State on signing day and said he needs more
time to make up his mind.
Pryor's self-imposed delay means Oregon and home state Penn State are back in the race after the multi-sport star apparently
had narrowed his choices to Ohio State and Michigan. On Tuesday
night, Pryor felt comfortable with Ohio State, only to change his
mind after waking up Wednesday.
"I had my mind set last night that I was going to go ... but
Penn State is hitting me hard and I don't think I gave them a fair
chance and I want to take a visit there," Pryor said. "Just check
out their campus. Just give him [coach Joe Paterno] a chance, he's
a great guy. I just think I should go there [to visit]."
The groans from Columbus could almost be heard a state away in
Jeannette, where Pryor's image appears on a billboard at the edge
of the town of 10,000 and his every move is watched with great
"He hasn't had time to make an informed, intelligent
decision," Jeannette coach Ray Reitz said. "Right now, waiting is
the best decision for him in the long run."
Pryor's other career is complicating matters. He is one of the
Pennsylvania's best high school basketball players, and Jeannette
is about to begin tournament play. With most tournament games on
the weekends, it could be difficult for Pryor to quickly schedule
his Penn State and Oregon visits.
"We played 16 football games, won the state championship (in
mid-December) and two days later we jumped into basketball," Pryor
said. "I haven't had that much time to get involved in the
recruiting process. I'd like to take more time and be fair to all
the coaches that recruited me, who spent a lot of time recruiting
Another issue: Pryor's father, Craig, has received numerous
visits from Penn State coaches and apparently wants his son to play
"Me and my dad had a battle of differences," said Pryor, the
only Pennsylvania player to rush for more than 4,000 yards and pass
for 4,000 in his career. "They've been hitting my father hard.
They been to my dad's house so many times. My dad's in love with
them. [Penn State assistant] Tom Bradley probably knows the town
more than he does."
Pryor's decision to wait is uncommon, as most top players have
long since committed by signing day, but he doesn't have to sign
with any school until April 1. Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch,
a family friend who was asked by Pryor to give him advice, doesn't
think he will need that long.
"This is the decision he has to live with the next four
years," Batch said. "I told him, `Don't make the decision under
Pryor has the speed, size and the athletic ability to be a Vince Young-type quarterback in college, and he is rated as the nation's
No. 1 player by Scouts.com and Rivals.com. He was the MVP last
month in the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio. But there
are questions about his arm strength and the quality of his
opponents in the second smallest of Pennsylvania's four classes.
The other notable quarterbacks to emerge from the Pittsburgh
area over the years -- Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana among
them -- all played against stronger competition at the time.
"To me, he's a glamour guy who's overrated," said Bill
Urbanik, a longtime NFL and college assistant who does player
analysis for Takkle.com. "He'll be good but not great. He's a
power forward, but now you want him to play point guard. I've seen
too many big guys fail at quarterback."
Urbanik, who grew up in Donora, Pa., near Jeannette, also said,
"Put him in Texas or California and he'd be pretty good, but not
No. 1 in the country. There, they all can run like he can run, and
they'll catch him. He doesn't have great quickness."
Urbanik's service ranks Pryor No. 16, the lowest such ranking by
any of the major services.
"If he's at the Heisman Trophy presentation in four years,
you'll know I was wrong," Urbanik said.