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Where Should Pryor Go?

Detroit Free Press writer James Jahnke claims it is in Terrelle Pryor's best interest to sign with Ohio State.

Jahnke makes one key assumption in his argument: The #1 priority for Terrelle Pryor is making it to the NFL. Nothing else even matters (I think we're begin to see wherein lies the stupidity of this column). He ignores several other factors, such as immediate playing time (which he admits is in Michigan's favor), and friendship with other commits (which he states to be in Ohio State's favor). By the way, every other school is eliminated from contention by Jahnke (while this may be the general consensus in the recruiting world, completely omitting other options - such as Oregon and Duke - is vastly oversimplifying the problem).

Terrelle Pryor is a Vince Young-like talent, and the consensus #1 player in the country (ESPN's consistently terrible rankings notwithstanding). Jahnke believes that Ohio State is the correct choice for Pryor, because Michigan will not be able to adequately prepare him for the NFL.

He’s a quarterback in the mold of Vince Young, tall and mobile. Given the depleted state of the Wolverines’ depth chart, the Jeannette, Pa., product would be the first-stringer the moment he signed on the dotted line.... Rich Rodriguez’s zone-read offense is tailor-made for Pryor. But what will that do for him at the next level? West Virginia quarterback Pat White – Rodriguez’s former pupil -- is a terrific college player, but his best bet for an NFL future is as a cornerback or kick returner. Granted, Pryor has better physical tools than White. But NFL teams will be skeptical of a QB coming out of a zone-read offense, no matter how talented he is.
Let's compare the talents of Vince Young (former NFL rookie of the year at quarterback) and Pat White (future NFL kick returner), and determine which one of the two is more like Terrelle Pryor (note: even Jahnke did not say "he's a quarterback in the mold of Pat White" - despite trying to put him on the same level as White):
  • Vince Young was 6'5", 200, with a 4.4 dash time coming out of high school. Pat White was 6'2", 180 (both rather generous), with a 4.5 dash time. Pryor is 6'6", 225, 4.4 dash. Which one is he more like? (I'd vote for Young)
  • Vince Young was the #1 recruit in the country his senior year, a five-star quarterback. Pat White was the #53 quarterback in the country, a two-star who attended West Virginia primarily because Rich Rodriguez was the only coach who promised him he'd play QB. Terrelle Pryor is the #1 recruit in the country, a five-star quarterback. (Young? check)
  • Vince Young ran the zone-read in college. Pat White ran the zone-read in college. If he attends Michigan, Terrelle Pryor will run the zone-read in college. (OK, they're all the same)
The talent level isn't the only area where Jahnke is way off, however, it's offensive style, as well. He states that Pat White rarely drops back, so Pryor's game film for NFL scouts would be lacking. While it is true that Rodriguez's scheme operates mostly out of the shotgun, there are some misrepresentations in this point as well. Rodriguez does have his quarterback drop back occasionally. In addition, Vince Young (drafted #3 overall) rarely dropped back in college. He ran a similar offense to what Michigan will be running in the near future. The final point on offensive scheme is the lack of downfield passing by West Virginia. This can easily be explained by talent. Vince Young's arm != Pat White's arm. #1 Quarterback recruit != Guy who was offered as a safety by every other school. Even still, Pat White's long in the Fiesta bowl was 79 yards. Jahnke assumes that Ohio State's offense is adaptable to adding the zone-read, while assuming that Michigan's offense is not adaptable to anything but the zone-read.
The other advantage for a quarterback avoiding a straight-up zone-read offense is longevity. Every time Pryor runs the ball, he risks blowing out his knee. He would, of course, also run at OSU, but not as much as at U-M. You can get hurt in the pocket, too, but it’s much safer in there than out on the edge, trying to juke safeties and linebackers diving at your legs every play.
Prove it. Give me any study, ANY empirical evidence that shows quarterbacks are hurt more often outside the pocket than in it. Pat White's sole injuries in 3 years at WVU are a case of turf toe and a broken thumb. Vince Young went 2.5 years at Texas without getting hurt once. Chad Henne, on the other hand, who only leaves the pocket at gunpoint, managed to shred a knee and a shoulder this year. Great analysis, Jim.

Jahnke's final point is the fact that he doesn't believe it is in Pryor's best interest to start right away (ignoring the fact that this is one of the things Pryor is looking for in a school). It would serve Terrelle better to play spot duty behind Todd Boeckman than to start at Michigan. Never mind that the Wolverines also have other quarterbacks. Steven Threet, incumbent or not, was a four-star player, and currently the odds-on favorite to start next year - perhaps even if Pryor comes to Ann Arbor.

Is this how far sportswriting in America has fallen? Trying to ignore the facts and influence recruits to attend the school of your choosing? I'm embarrassed to be in the same STATE as James Jahnke, let alone the same profession. It's no coincidence that a search for "Jahnke" on freep.com asks if I meant to type "junk."

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“Where Should Pryor Go?”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I see so many articles from scUM begging Pryor to go there. Let's face it, you guys lost your WR's, RB's and several other key players. Why would he want to go to a school that has to rebuild from scratch? If he does decide to go to scUM then he is obviously not smart and will have a problem with his academics.

  2. Anonymous Tony Says:

    For some reason, I see an equal number of Buckeye fans "begging" Pryor to go to OSU with articles, blogs, messages on Facebook, and more, which, without a doubt speaks to his talent and true value to any team that is lucky enough to land him.

    First off, "anonymous," I would like to thank you for your class in calling U of M "scUM"each time you refer to them. You are definitely showing Pryor what class he can look forward to if he signs with the Buckeyes.

    I can't help but sense desperation in your writing tone when you act like this article is "begging" Pryor to go to Michigan. You are hiding behind your insults and "anonymous" name with your fingers crossed hoping that Pryor will choose OSU; everyone can see your insecurity just through this small comment.

    Furthermore, this well written critique of a professional sports writer's article is in no way a writing that is "begging" Pryor to commit to the University of Michigan. Tim does an excellent job of rebuffing Jahnke's poorly researched column point-by-point. Journalists welcome such critiques, as it keeps them honest and impartial, something all journalists should strive for. It just so happens that Jahnke has personal ties to OSU which clouded his objectivity. Tim merely was pointing out the inaccuracies of Jahnke's argument and in no way was calling for a response like yours, which, really, has nothing to do with his work.

    Best of luck to Pryor and whomever lands this great player.

  3. Blogger Tim Says:

    Anonymous,

    I understand that, as an O-State fan, your reading comprehension skills are likely lacking, but did you even skim this post? I was not "begging" Pryor to come to UM, nor was I putting down the Bucks. On the contrary, it was the analysis, rather than the message, that was so poor.

    If such a low-quality article (with blatant errors and misrepresentations) had been written detailing the reasons Pryor should not go to Columbus, I'd hope that a blogger from O-State would respond in a similar manner.