Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor
Jon Gruden said Friday that Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has “dominated college football” and could make it in the NFL.
“I have met Terrelle Pryor, had a chance to watch him,” Gruden told the media after speaking at the 80th annual Ohio State Football Clinic. “This is a freak of nature. This guy is really something with the ball in his hands.”
While ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has made it clear he does not see Pryor making the transition to pro quarterback and that Pryor instead would make a better tight end at the next level, Gruden, Kiper’s colleague, disagreed.
“Terrelle Pryor can run and he can throw and he’s a hell of a competitor,” Gruden said. “You might have to cater your offense, to a degree, towards his strengths, but I think this guy can develop his passing.
“His win-loss record speaks for itself. He’s not playing against the choir boys. This is a guy that’s dominated college football.”
Despite Pryor’s success on the Buckeye squad, Gruden said, the team won’t be in too much trouble for the first five games of next season, during which Pryor is suspended for selling memorabilia.
“They’ve got a hot shot guy in here from Dayton. No. 5 is all I know,” Gruden said with his trademark grin. “Braxton (Miller) is his name. He’s pretty darn good too.”
Pryor has been sidelined with a foot injury during the spring, and Gruden said he thinks it may help the Buckeyes’ quarterback dilemma in the long run.
“It’s really a blessing in disguise that Terrelle’s foot is being rehabbed,” he said. “I think the challenge is to settle in on two guys that are going to take the majority of reps early in training camp and see who can lead this offense.”
Gruden, who won Super Bowl XXXVII as the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, arrived in Columbus on Wednesday and spent the latter part of the workweek watching and studying OSU’s football team. He was the keynote speaker at Friday’s clinic, where high school and college coaches gathered to take advice from Gruden and other master coaches, including former OSU coaches Earle Bruce and John Cooper.
Gruden is a commentator on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” and said he is helping coach his son’s high school team right now but would like to return to coaching full time. He didn’t specify when or in what capacity.
“You miss the players. You miss victory,” Gruden said. “Those are feelings you can’t duplicate.”