August 8, 2010

Pryor goes from 'arrogance' to maturity

COLUMBUS, Ohio - As Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor stood behind a podium to address the media at the team's photo day Sunday to talk about his future, Pryor couldn't help but bring up his past.

While reporters swarmed him with questions about how he has improved his game on the field and how he plans to take his team to the next level, Pryor looked back to his mindset as a freshman.

By doing so, he understands just how much he has grown in just a matter of years.

"I think I was a little arrogant (as a freshman)," Pryor said. "I'll tell you the truth -- I think I was arrogant and I was kind of to myself. I don't know what was special to me. I didn't know what I loved and stuff like that.

"When you grow up and mature and being around a great group of guys that tell you about yourself and tell you how you act that they don't like, and you finally hear it, it's great just to hear that," he continued. "You can grow from that, and I think that's how I grew."

Pryor began his career at Ohio State already as the big man on campus, joining the Buckeyes three years ago as the top prospect in all of high school football in the 2008 class. From the second Pryor got on campus, the quarterback was expected to do big things for Ohio State.

Just a matter of games into his career at Ohio State, he replaced Todd Boeckman as the team's starter. That was years after he had already been widely praised by everyone he encountered, Pryor said.

"I came in as junior in high school praising me and everyone being around me and everyone telling me how great I am and you lose your (ability to be humble," Pryor said. "I feel humble (now). I am very appreciative. I appreciate everything. Every day I go to work."

This season the expectations surrounding Pryor and the Buckeyes has reached an all-time high, even for Pryor's standards.

Pryor was named the preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year at Big Ten Media Days early last week and the Buckeyes were chosen to win the conference. For the Ohio State fans, it is national title or bust.

But Pryor has taken those expectations in stride and understands for his team to accomplish those lofty goals, he has to continue to grow. It is growth, Pryor said, that will take all four years of his college eligibility to be complete.

"My freshman year and sophomore I wasn't trying to get better every day," Pryor said. "Now I push myself to the limit regardless. I got so close with the senior guys now that I want to go out with a bang. I want to leave a legacy here. That's my goal. That's why I will be here for four years. I can't wait. I am so happy I can't wait."

Pryor's intentions of staying at Ohio State through his senior season were brought up voluntary by the quarterback, who can finally proclaim to be the complete quarterback based on his actual growth, not what people have told him.

"I really feel like a quarterback now," Pryor said. "I feel like I could be the complete quarterback, but I can also run the ball so it is going to be interesting (to see) how much smarter (I am) and how much I grew. It is going to be an interesting year for me."

Pryor has tweaked his mechanics in the off-season to have a higher release point, a tweak the quarterback said has his passes coming out stronger and on-point. Pryor also mentioned his enthusiasm in the film room, avoiding slouching while engaging in the conversation with his teammates and position coach.

But above all, Pryor feels the key to his success is becoming a good person off the field. That is a stride, Pryor said, he has improved on dramatically during his time at Ohio State.

"As a person I think I made progress. Trying to be a great citizen and being a great person," Pryor said. "Being the face of the university. Just speaking (to people). Not walking around ignoring people. Just being a better person."

Now Pryor enters his junior season as one of the veterans on the squad. It is this season where Pryor is a preseason Heisman Trohpy candidate and the leader of a Buckeye team that is poised to compete for the national championship.

But Pryor can finally say he is a real quarterback - on and off the field.

"It is the first time I can stand there (and say that). I can watch film and look and (notice) I've grown and mature," Pryor said. "I go through the reads right, I hit my check downs. I take the right steps on the handoffs. Everything is well. I feel very mature. That's what I mean when I say I feel like a quarterback."

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for He can be reached at [email protected].

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