Andy Gottesman / Multimedia Editor
“If everyone’s here, University of Ohio State.”
Those were Terrelle Pryor’s famous first words upon signing on to three or four years as a Buckeye on March 19, 2008.
At that time, was he ignorant of the proper syntax of the name of the college? After all, it’s tOSU, not tUOS.
Was he making a playful attempt at scaring OSU fans into thinking he would utter the “University of Michigan”?
Now, after three years of underachieving on the field and a firm hand in program destruction off of it, how many Buckeye fans wish he would’ve instead opted to play for Rich Rodriguez in the state up north?
When Pryor displayed his versatility in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl against Texas, making plays with his arm and feet and even catching a touchdown, he was a budding star.
When he rocked Oregon for 338 total yards and a pair of touchdowns in the 2010 Rose Bowl, he positioned himself as the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy the following season.
Instead, his off-the-field transgressions and on-the-field disappointments add up to a lackluster career full of headaches and frustration.
Writing Michael Vick’s name on his eyeblack? Supporting Vick by saying, “Everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me”?
That’s poor decision-making and an even poorer choice of words by an immature sophomore, especially considering the training players receive on how to give bland, elementary answers to the media’s questions.
Complaining via social media after being named honorable mention All-Big Ten?
“Damn I must be the worst Qb/player. I might quit football,” he tweeted.
Calling out former Buckeye quarterback Kirk Herbstreit for being a “hater”?
That’s evidence of an ever-talkative junior who should bite his Twitter tongue.
Reportedly getting several speeding tickets while driving pricey cars that don’t belong to him?
That’s teetering on the brink of the NCAA tightrope.
Serving as the root of a tattoo scandal that holds the potential to cost one of the country’s top coaches his job?
That’s the last straw.
That should be the final nail in Pryor’s coffin, the last worm this bad apple feeds Buckeye Nation.
Sure, Tressel’s attempt to privately commandeer Tattoo-gate’s problem-solving brigade warrants The Vest his own punishments. But the third-winningest football coach in OSU history wouldn’t have been in the precarious position had Pryor and his cohort not violated the NCAA rulebook.
Pryor often refers to Tressel — the man he respects most — as a fatherlike figure.
If only the coach could give his quarterback up for adoption.
As a passer, Pryor hasn’t made the progress necessary to convince NFL scouts he could excel on the professional level.
He struggles on short and intermediate passes, often lacking the proper touch needed to give his receivers the best chance to make the catch.
He continues to make poor decisions on deep passes, too often throwing the ball up for grabs, no matter how many defenders are swarming the intended receiver.
Pryor has vanished during a number of big games.
He lost a costly fumble late in a 13-6 loss to Penn State on Oct. 25, 2008.
Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, in his first career road game, outplayed Pryor to lift USC to an 18-15 win at OSU on Sept. 12, 2009.
In the Buckeyes’ 31-18 loss at Wisconsin on Oct. 16, 2010, Pryor threw for just 156 yards and an interception.
He has, however, risen to the occasion in bowl games, being named MVP of the 2010 Rose Bowl and January’s Sugar Bowl.
It’s too bad he won’t be able to build off that Sugar Bowl performance as he serves a five-game suspension to start the 2011 season — his last shot to gasp a breath of NFL air.
Pryor made OSU wait an extra six weeks past Signing Day before committing to coming to Columbus. He hasn’t been worth the wait.
It’s been a roller coaster three years with the enigmatic quarterback at the epicenter of Buckeye sports. By his own doing, he only has half a season to salvage a career that hasn’t met expectations.
In his own mind, at the “University of Ohio State,” perhaps Pryor’s passes are perfectly placed into the arms of receivers and his extracurricular wrongdoing won’t taint his legacy.
In reality, Pryor has been nothing short of a failure at Ohio State University.