The Pryor Has Landed

Ohio State fans have been clamoring for Terrelle Pryor to be a Buckeye since even before his senior season began. Now that Pryor is on campus and working out with the team, find out what his mindset was like heading into the summer and what sort of player former head coach Ray Reitz thinks the Buckeyes are getting.

On Sunday, June 15, the Terrelle Pryor era officially began at Ohio State. Although the nation's top overall prospect for the class of 2008 had signed his name on the dotted line and pledged his services to the Buckeyes nearly three full months earlier, years of planning and recruitment all came to fruition when he physically set foot on campus.

Although fans won't get their first peek as to what Pryor can do – more than likely – until the Buckeyes tee it off against Youngstown State on August 30, his former head coach had plenty of good things to say concerning his final weeks of preparation before leaving for college.

"He really worked his ass off this summer," Jeannette, Pa., head coach Ray Reitz told "He's a little bit bigger than he was at the end of the year physically. That's a credit to working hard. This is challenge for him, which is why I know he'll do well. When he gets challenges, he's pretty good."

Since his commitment to OSU, the Buckeye coaching staff has been sending Pryor instructional information designed to help bring him along in his development. According to Reitz, Pryor has not simply kept that information to himself.

"Everything he learned from Ohio State he taught and worked with these kids," he said. "There's not a lot of kids that would do that. I live right by the football field, and I'm riding by and there's Terrelle with our four quarterbacks, working with him. Those are little things, but they're important."

That is nothing new to the stable of quarterbacks who have been behind Pryor on the depth chart, however. Last season, classmate Shaw Sunder served as the No. 2 quarterback and was often given the unenviable task of relieving Pryor late in games when the outcome was already well-decided.

Rather than be intimidated by Pryor's abilities, Sunder said the other Jayhawks were held to the same high standard as the nation's top prospect – by the player himself.

"You feel a lot of pressure because you want to go out and perform like he does so you don't get shown up as bad," Sunder said. "He works you hard in practice so you don't get shown up. He tries to teach me and all the other backups everything he knows and he breaks it down slow and teaches everyone."

It's all part of a mature, sensitive athlete Reitz paints as the opposite of how many media outlets have portrayed Pryor. The displayed maturity is just one reason OSU fans will be happy with Pryor, he said.

It is also why Reitz has gone to bat for Pryor on radio stations across the country.

"During basketball season they had this incident with the North Catholic team," he said. "They had a fight; Terrelle didn't even throw a punch. There were words said, but two talk show hosts in Pittsburgh started calling him a thug. They never reported any facts. Everything they said was just innuendo.

"You can blast me. I don't mind that. What the hell do I care? I'm 52. I don't care. All I said to them was, ‘That's pretty bad when you start blasting an 18-year-old kid on the radio.' I think that bothered him a little bit but not a lot."

Of course, Reitz was not the only coach to work with Pryor on improving both on and off the field. The head coach received assistance from quarterbacks coach Roy Hall as well, helping improve on Pryor's mechanics.

Although there is assuredly work to be done fine-tuning his abilities, Reitz said Pryor will turn heads once he catches on in Columbus. Describing him as eager to learn, Reitz expects that Pryor's willingness to work hard will endear him to the team's upperclassmen.

"Terrelle doesn't want to go up there and start or anything," he said. "He just wants to help the team win. He understands a senior is coming back.

"There's a little bit of resentment up there, I think, from the seniors towards him. That's any kid. When you're a senior you've paid your dues and it's your year and you've got a stud coming in, that's just human nature. You've got to pay your dues. Once they see Terrelle can help them win and the level he can play at, that'll be the difference. It'll take care of itself."

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