By Ryan Leong
Terrelle Pryor, QB, #6
Hometown: Jeannette, Penn.
College: Ohio State
Experience: 2nd NFL season (all with Raiders)
Terrelle Pryor represents the future and the past for the Oakland Raiders. While his NFL career has barely begun, his connection to late owner Al Davis will forever keep him in as an important part of Raiders lore. Pryor was chosen in the August supplemental 2011 draft and was Davis’ final selection, less than two months before passing away in early October.
Pryor grew up in Jeannette, Pennsylvania and in high school he led the football team to a perfect 16-0 record, claiming both the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association crowns. He also helped Jeannette High win the WPIAL and PIAA titles in basketball, a first for the Keystone state.
By the time he graduated, he became the first player in Pennsylvania history to have a 4,000-4,000 career. He had 4,238 rushing yards and 4,340 passing yards. As a senior, he posted 1,899 rushing and 1,889 passing yards.
It was in college at Ohio State University where he really made a name for himself. Under head coach Jim Tressel, Pryor was 31-4 as a starter for the Buckeyes. In his freshman year on Sept. 20, 2008, Pryor threw for four touchdowns (an Ohio State record) in his first career start. He had 57 touchdown passes in his career, tying Bobby Hoying for most in school history. As a junior in his final season in 2010, he completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,772 yards and 27 touchdowns. Pryor had numerous awards and accolades including 2010 Rose Bowl MVP and 2011 Sugar Bowl MVP.
Unfortunately, Pryor had an unceremonious exit to his collegiate career after a tattoos-for-memorabilia scandal, which was a black eye to the Ohio State football program. The school went on probation and had to vacate its win in the Sugar Bowl and their 11 regular season victories during the 2010 campaign. As punishment, on On December 23, 2010, the NCAA ruled that Pryor and four of his teammates would be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season.
On May 31, 2011, Tressel would resign from Ohio State amid allegations after a report by the Columbus Dispatch in which an investigation by the NCAA and Ohio State investigated more than 50 vehicle purchases by Buckeyes players, family members and friends over the past. Sports Illustrated reported that Pryor drove up to eight cars during his three years at Ohio State.
Other reports surfaced that Pryor was driving on a suspended license and made thousands of dollars signing memorabilia for a local booster. He finally decided to withdraw from the university on June 7 and on June 26, and he was banned from all contact with the university’s athletic program and new incoming recruits.
As a result, he become eligible for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft and he served his NFL-mandated five-game suspension at the beginning of the 2011 season for his involvement in the Ohio State scandal. He would still be allowed to workout with the team and was reinstated a day after the Raiders beat the Houston Texans on Oct. 9 which was also the weekend Al Davis passed away.
Pryor only had one play in 2011, which was an aborted snap nullified due to a false-start penalty on Pryor.
He hopes to be the QB of the future, and so far has played only one series of downs with an incomplete pass attempt. He actually was ill with flu-like symptoms against the Chiefs in his 2012 debut.
The Raiders haven’t had a young gunslinging quarterback since the days of Kenny Stabler in the 1970′s. Their previous overall number-one first-round selection, JaMarcus Russell in 2006, was arguably the biggest draft bust in NFL history. Raider fans hope that Pryor’s future is a lot brighter than that of Russell, who is remembered more for his laziness and addiction to a drug nicknamed “purple drank” in the hip-hop community.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.