The Circle Of Trust

Fans from Ohio to Oregon wanted to see Terrelle Pryor make a final decision on National Signing Day, but that did not happen. Now as he moves forward and attempts to make a final call, find out which people are helping Pryor sort it all out and what roles they will be playing.

JEANNETTE, Pa. – Now what?

With National Signing Day having come and gone, fans that were expecting to see the Terrelle Pryor recruiting saga come to an end now face an uncertain future. Questions abound as to how Pryor will decide which school he will attend, whose advice he will seek out and when a final decision can be expected.

It appears that Pryor's inner circle has grown tighter with the inclusion of NFL quarterback Charlie Batch. Now an adviser to Pryor, he sat alongside Pryor's head coach, Ray Reitz, and mother Toni at the Wednesday press conference. Now, it appears, those three people – as well as his father, Craig – will be the people he turns to advice.

With at least two more official visits scheduled, Pryor said he will not take advice from anyone else – a sentiment both Reitz and Batch endorsed.

"Me and Charlie and Coach Reitz and my mom here will be talking about the times and how I'm going to do everything," Pryor said.

The most recent addition to that list is Batch, who has emerged as a person Pryor can lean on throughout the process. Batch first met with Pryor when he was a teenager playing in a basketball camp Batch sponsors. The two became friends and kept in touch, but he did not become involved in Pryor's recruitment until the nation's top prep prospect asked him to do so. Reitz described Batch's involvement as having added some "normalcy" to the situation.

Batch said Pryor is not the first player he has assisted through a similar process but that he – obviously – is the most-publicized.

On numerous occasions during the press conference, Batch stressed that he will not tell Pryor to pick a certain school. Rather, his job is more of an information gatherer than anything else.

"I'll get all the information, lay it out and say, ‘Here's all the pros and cons for each university, and that that point you decide what you want to do with it,' " he said. "Now if he asked me my opinion as to what is best for him, then I will give it at that appropriate time. Now I'm not in a position to do that because it's not my decision."

Doing so will involve accompanying Pryor on his planned official visits to Penn State and Oregon. Both will take place when his basketball schedule allows.

Batch accompanied Pryor on his official visit to Michigan but not on his trip to OSU, which came during the NFL season. On that trip, Pryor was accompanied by a friend. Neither Batch nor Pryor's mother plan to trip to Columbus unless Pryor asks them to do so.

"I've seen Michigan," Batch said. "I haven't seen Ohio State because that visit was taken in November. If that's something that Terrelle wants to go back up there and do, then that's what I would do. There's no reason for me to go up there myself. I'm not the one being recruited."

"I don't have to go there," his mother said. "I don't have to go to school there. I don't have to be with those guys. I don't have to study. Terrelle knows. He's a smart kid. I trust him. I have faith in him and I believe in him. I'm just here as someone to stand by his side."

Pryor's mother said her son talks to his father more than he talks to her about recruiting but that she still plays an important role in the process.

"When he's stressed, he does go to his dad a lot and that's perfectly fine with me because mothers are sometimes there for other things," she said. "He does ask me and I give him my opinion – I'm not going to tell you what that is – but we do have that kind of relationship. I'm glad to be a part of all this because I need to be. He needs his mom and he's really close with his dad and his dad helps him out a lot. That's good."

As he plans to take more visits, Pryor also has the luxury of being able to look at where each team's depth chart stands for next season. Of his final four schools, only OSU returns a starting quarterback for next season.

Batch pointed out that Pryor has never had to sit behind another player since he was in roughly the fourth grade. Playing early looks to be a factor, but it might not be as big of a factor as finding a school that will help develop him as a complete quarterback to best prepare him for the NFL.

"I think he'd be great in the spread, but the other thing about the spread is it's got to be in the spread where he can also be a drop-back passer for the next level," Reitz said. "I think that's another thing that he's looking at, too."

With about two months remaining until Pryor has to make a decision – recruits have until April 1 to sign for the 2008 season – he now has a closer circle of advisers to lean on for advice.

When will it end? No one seated with Pryor seemed to have any idea. But whichever school he picks, there will be no doubt that he has done all his homework on the topic.

"His decision is going to basically decide for him where for the next four years he's going to spend his time at," Batch said. "At the end of the day I don't want him saying, ‘There was information out there that I did not receive before making my decision.' I want him to have all the information out there to make his decision."

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