Tuesday, June 7, 2011

From the Horseshoe to the Hambrecht?

            With the recent news of Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor forgoing his senior season with the Buckeyes amidst much scandal, Pryor’s future is very much up in the air.  With continuing turmoil befalling the National Football League, Pryor and his agent have mentioned the possibility of Pryor playing in the Canadian Football League, or securing himself a private quarterbacks coach until the next NFL draft.  But Terrelle Pryor could be ignoring another option, the United Football League, and what a season of the UFL could allow Pryor to do to further his professional football career.
            Pryor’s departure from OSU comes after a shockwave of scandals and compliance violations ripped through the Buckeye athletic department, also leading the early leave of head coach Jim Tressel.  Already facing a five game suspension to start the season, Pryor looked to be continuing target for the NCAA, as they seem to have Ohio State in their cross hairs as the next example for stricter punishments, fresh off of retracting the 2004 USC title. 
            Despite it’s ending, Pryor’s career at OSU was nothing short of very successful.  Pryor arrived in Columbus as the top rated recruit in the high school class of 2007, and quickly made his way to the top of the quarterback depth chart.  The 6-foot-6 signal caller was a dual threat in the backfield, with an arm strong enough to keep Big Ten secondary’s at bay, and the legs to keep pass rushers modest and to not over pursue.  Perhaps even more important, Pryor was a proven winner, leading the Buckeyes to victories in both the Sugar and Rose Bowl. 
            With his future uncertain, the UFL certainly should be on Pryor’s mind.  His ability to scramble in the pocket, along with an ever improving passing game, could bring a dynamic that is about to seemingly explode on the UFL scene.  Along with other newcomers Pat White and Jeremiah Massoli, the three would join Daunte Culpepper as quarterbacks whose rushing ability must be respected.
            The 2010 season for Pryor was easily his best yet.  Looking at his career numbers, its easy to see that Pryor has truly developed into a premier dual threat quarterback, with his passing numbers increasing each of his three seasons, and his rushing numbers evolving as well.  During the 2010 Buckeye campaign, Pryor threw for over 2,700 yards for 27 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions, all while rushing the ball for 754 yards and four touchdowns.  Despite both his rushing yards and touchdown totals slightly dropping, his increasing in passing numbers from 2009 to 2010 tell of story of growth and improvement.  From 2009 to 2010 alone, Pryor’s completion percentage rose over nine percent; he threw for nearly 700 yards more, and increased his touchdown total from 18 to 27.  For a quarterback whose passing ability was questioned as a freshman, Pryor has proven he has the ability to command the pocket.
            With a track record of steady improvement, Pryor could certainly find a suitable home in the UFL, even if just for this coming fall.  The move might also be what Pryor needs coming off of a sour ending to his college career, as the UFL could provide a safe haven from legally stressed NFL.  Despite his transgressions, the numbers don’t lie; Terrelle Pryor certainly has the potential for a successful UFL career.

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