Prior To Camp With Buckeyes

Though scholarships already are tight in Ohio State's class of 2009, a number of Ohio offensive linemen could be close to grabbing a scholarship offer depending on how things break. One of those is Portsmouth OT John Prior, who has a number of D-I offers but hopes to add an OSU one at camp later this month.

Perhaps John Prior can look at Adam Bellamy as inspiration.

The latter came to Ohio State's camp this past weekend without an OSU offer and, after a standout performance, received the call a day later. By Tuesday afternoon, Bellamy had become the Buckeyes' 17th commitment in the class of 2009.

Prior, an offensive line prospect from Portsmouth, Ohio, who lists OSU as one of his leaders despite not holding an offer, wouldn't mind receiving one after leaving Ohio State's camp the weekend of June 20.

"That would be a dream come true," he said.

Prior is still in good shape should that dream never become reality. The prospect said he has around 13 Division I offers at this point.

"He's got some big-time offers under his belt right now," Portsmouth head coach Curt Clifford said. "Florida State has offered, North Carolina State has offered, West Virginia has offered, Louisville has offered and Indiana has offered, so he's got a pretty impressive array."

According to Prior, Florida State, which came through with an offer around two months ago, is at the head of that group thanks to a visit to the Ohio River town by Seminole offensive line coach Rick Trickett.

"It's a powerhouse team," Prior said. "(Coach Trickett) came all the way from Florida to see me. I got to know him a little better. As far as talking to coaches, he's the one I've kind of related to the most."

Receiving such attention from big-time schools has left the 6-6, 280-pound tackle overwhelmed.

"I wake up and thank God every day that I'm put in this situation," he said. "It's kind of crazy. At the beginning of the year I didn't think I was going to get recruited because I dislocated my ankle and they didn't think I was going to be able to play this season, but I was able to. I didn't miss a start, but I didn't have a full practice until like the sixth game of the season."

Clifford also noted that some major recruiting services used by colleges to identify prospects had Prior listed a year behind his actual class, which might help explain why Prior has flown under the radar to a certain extent.

Those that have caught on have been impressed by Prior.

"There were a lot of guys that didn't get in on him until late, but once they started coming in on him, they said, ‘Holy cow,' " Clifford said.

Both player and coach described Prior's play on the field as spurred on by a mean streak that helps him finish each play.

"He's very, very physical with a nasty streak," Clifford said. "He's definitely a real physical kid that finishes. He's got great bend and he comes off the ball well, extremely strong, very physical. I've had a lot of coaches come in here and say that if he's not the top lineman in Ohio, he's in the top four or five."

Prior had his own way of putting it.

"I'm a pretty physical and ruthless player," he said.

Those qualities will be on display when Prior shows up at the Ohio State camp. His stated reason for going is to try to nab the coveted OSU offer, but having his skills on display for other coaches in attendance won't be a bad thing, either.

"(To try to get an Ohio State offer) is the reason I'm going," he said. "But I'm looking to get more offers, keep options open. Maybe Ohio State doesn't turn out to be the place that's for me. I'd like to be looked at by other schools, talk to their coaches and see what they're thinking."

"I tell my guys every year, if you really want to go to a camp, go to Ohio State," Clifford said. "There are very few people that get offered from Ohio State, but there are a whole lot of coaches that work that camp up there, so you'd be in a real good situation if you could land up there."

Prior also hopes to visit Marshall's camp later this year and swing by the Florida State campus later this month while on a vacation to the Sunshine State with an eye on making his choice near the start of his senior season.

Whichever school he chooses will be receiving both a good football player and person, Clifford said.

"He's a good kid," the coach said. "He's never given us one ounce of trouble off the field. He works out hard and is a very humble young man."

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