Terrelle Pryor, the nation’s No.1 football recruit according to most recruiting services, announced in a press conference at his high school yesterday that he will attend Ohio State next fall.
The Jeannette, Pa., native picked the Buckeyes over Michigan, Penn State and Oregon, though the Buckeyes and Wolverines were considered the frontrunners.
The announcement comes six weeks after Pryor chose to delay his decision from the Feb. 6 National Signing Day, when most highly-touted prospects announce their choice of college. The move sparked widespread speculation among college football pundits and fans and coaches, including Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez continued to pursue him heavily during that time.
In the end, though, Pryor’s selection came down to his comfort with Ohio State’s program and coaches. He will likely play as a backup to senior quarterback Tood Boeckman under head coach Jim Tressel,
“There’s a senior,” Pryor said at the press conference. “And I could learn from the senior. I feel comfortable with coach Tressel – not that I don’t feel comfortable with coach Rod.”
After speaking with the Buckeye coaching staff, Pryor said he got a feel for how he would be used during his first season in Columbus. He told reporters he envisions being used like Florida’s Tim Tebow was two seasons ago. Tebow, who became the first-ever player to win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore last year, played as a backup during his first season, coming in every few downs to give his offense a change of pace.
Pryor, also a highly regarded basketball recruit, expressed remorse about having to spurn the Wolverines and their coaching staff. Rodriguez began recruiting Pryor while he was still coaching at West Virginia.
Pryor acknowledged that he might be giving up the opportunity to start as a freshman by choosing scarlet and gray over maize and blue.
“I feel bad because I said no to Michigan,” Pryor said. “I had so much of a bond with Coach Rodriguez and (recruiting coordinator) Tony Gibson. They just had hopes on me, but I let them down.”
Rodriguez’s spread-option offense, which normally relies on a running quarterback, appeared to be a good fit for Pryor’s skill set. None of the quarterbacks on Michigan’s current roster have experience playing in Rodriguez’s system.