Pryor Comes To Columbus

Nothing is official yet, but Terrelle Pryor caused quite a stir Sunday afternoon in Columbus. As the men's cagers battled Wisconsin on the hardwood at Value City Arena, the nation's top football prospect made the trip to Ohio State along with one of his teammates to check out the Buckeyes. Find out how it went and where he might be headed next.

At times it was hard to tell who the main attraction was: Ohio State's men's basketball game or hotshot recruit Terrelle Pryor.

As the Buckeyes battled the Badgers in an attempt to keep their waning NCAA tournament hopes alive, the football team brought in a host of juniors as part of a day-long event that allowed them to take in the campus. A tour of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center was given and players and their families and/or coaches were treated to seats at Value City Arena for the basketball game.

But the biggest recruit in town was neither a junior nor a newbie to campus. Pryor, the top prospect in the country who had a nationally televised press conference on National Signing Day to announce that he had not made a decision, decided to make the trip to Columbus along with his teammate Jordan Hall and it seemed that all of the arena knew he was there.

The decision to come was solely Pryor's, Jeannette quarterbacks coach Roy Hall said.

"Terrelle just decided to come," Hall told "He's already had his official visit. He just wanted to come along for the ride. This is all about Jordan."

Right before the start of the second half, Pryor told reporters that he would not talk about recruiting and that he was just focused on basketball right now. But in this case, his actions might have said just as much as words.

As the first half drew to a close, the east end of the arena began chanting "We want Pryor," while the west end was simply chanting his name. As the teams headed to their respective locker rooms, Pryor also headed for the concourse preceded by head football coach Jim Tressel.

Walking along the baseline, both were mobbed by the OSU student section. Pryor, clad in a red Nike shirt and a black jacket, could be seen with a smile on his face the entire time. Once in the lower part of the concourse, the two disappeared into a room labeled "Video Production Room" for the duration of halftime.

The shouting for Pryor drowned out the school's halftime recognition of the men's soccer team, which won the Big Ten and finished as the national runners-up last season.

Tressel and Pryor emerged shortly before the second half began and flanked by OSU director of athletics Gene Smith. Again, the arena erupted as fans chanted his name and took pictures with their cell phones. One fan was even dressed in a homemade white t-shirt with the words "PRYOR FOR PRESIDENT' sewn on in black fabric.

Pryor returned to his seat. To his immediate left was OSU quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels. To his right was offensive lineman Mike Adams, who also happened to catch an OSU t-shirt thrown into the crowd by the cheerleaders during the first half. Adams attempted to give it to Pryor, and the two were seen laughing and passing it back and forth.

Also seated with Pryor were J.B. Shugarts and Michael Brewster – two members of OSU's class of 2008 who have already enrolled in winter classes – and Jake Stoneburner, a teammate of Adams' at Dublin (Ohio) Coffman. Pryor and the other 2008 class members headed for the exits early in the second half.

Although recruits are allowed to take as many unofficial visits as they like, Pryor's appearance at the OSU game can only be taken as a positive sign for the Buckeyes as they attempt to land him. Pryor has officially visited OSU and Michigan and delayed his decision on signing day so that he could take official visits to both Penn State – at his father's request – and Oregon.

The problem all along has been his basketball schedule. The Jayhawks captured a WPIAL Class AA title with an 82-68 victory Saturday and now advance to the state tournament. According to Hall, the next official visit for Pryor might be looming.

"I believe he said next Sunday he's going to visit Penn State and then after that I guess he'll make a decision," he said.

Asked if that meant Oregon was out of the picture, Hall said, "You'll have to ask him. I'm not sure of that. Wherever he chooses to go, I'll be a big fan."

Pryor has also undergone a change in his living situation in the past few weeks. The 6-5, 225-pound athlete had living with his godfather, Willie Burns, because his father is confined to a wheelchair and unable to take care of him while his mother has lived outside of the Jeannette school district.

But about three weeks ago, according to Hall, Pryor's mother, Toni, moved back to town.

"He moved in with his mother about three weeks ago," he said. "Your mother is always your mother. I guess she had some opportunities and it worked out so she moved back to Jeannette.

"He's very close with his father, his mother and Willie Burns. He's really close. I think he just wants to make sure that the decision that he makes is the right one."

With basketball season reaching its conclusion, final decision time for Pryor might not be too far away. But seated at Value City Arena as the Buckeyes struggled against the Badgers, Hall said he had an idea where his school's prize prospect might be suiting up at the next level.

"This is strictly my opinion. I'll say this: I think Ohio State's one of his favorites," he said, gesturing at the crowd with a smile on his face. "It is what it is."

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