February 7, 2008 -- Jeanette, PA -- In a shocking and unprecedented announcement, the Rivals.com #1-rated high school football player in the country has decided not to sign a letter of intent to play collegiate football. The 6'6", 235-pound quarterback, having recently led Jeanette High School to a Pennsylvania State Championship, was initially projected to only delay the signing of his letter of intent to no later than April 1, 2008. However, Pryor took his highly scrutinized college decision a step further and released a statement purporting that he is no longer delaying his decision-- he will never play college football.
Pryor took questions regarding his unprecedented written statement.
"I can see how this seems odd to fans of college football, especially the schools recruiting me," Pryor stated in a sealed letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The truth is, I've reached the top of the mountain in terms of competitive football. I led my high school to a state championship, I earned Rivals.com Junior of the Year and Parade National Player of the Year honors... I've practically won a national championship or two, based on Rivals and Scout."
Pryor is referring to two popular recruiting information sources, Rivals, Inc. and Scout.com.
"Not only does this shake up the Rivals100 rankings, it questions the very reasons we had Terrelle ranked number one in the first place," said Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every. "It also forces you to reexamine exactly why so many people make their living based on the whims of teenagers."
Scout.com writer Bob Lichtenfels was less introspective: "Terrelle Pryor has just made the worst decision of his life." Lichtenfels also noted that Pryor's decision will likely cause him to drop in the Superprep.com 300 rankings, as well. "He'll go from first to probably sixth or seventh."
The sudden and groundbreaking statement has sent shockwaves through the small community of Jeannette, PA, as well as the national college football landscape. "Terrelle was our town's savior," said local florist Dan Zanarini. "To watch him waste God-given talent like this is heartbreaking. I enjoyed the national spotlight while it lasted."
It had been predicted that Pryor would likely attend The Ohio State University, some 120 miles from Jeannette. "Certainly, Terrelle's decision was jaw-dropping news to us," Ohio State coach and Pryor-hopeful Jim Tressel remarked over the phone. "We had visions of substituting Terrelle in for 25-30 plays a game as a change-of-pace. Now, we'll have to rely solely on Todd Boeckman to guide us to the championship game for a third straight season." Ohio State has lost two straight BCS Championship Games by an average of 20.5 points.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, the likely favorite in the Terrelle Pryor recruitment, remained stunned.
"To learn about a young man's life, family, friends, interests, for over a full year, and have it end like this," a choked-up University of Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez lamented. "It's painful." Rodriguez also remarked that his recruitment of Terrelle was not over-- even if playing college football was out of the question. "We'd take Terrelle in basketball, too." University of Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti and Pennsylvania State University football coach Joe Paterno, two more of Pryor's suitors, could not be reached for comment.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, Pryor's recruiting mentor and public figurehead since the beginning of the football season, could not argue with Terrelle's decision. "I look at my career, and it's like, sometimes I regret not finishing on top. I was a hotshot recruit, too. Now I get booed everytime Roethlisberger turns an ankle." The 33-year-old Batch, a native of nearby Homestead, PA, was not highly recruited and attended Eastern Michigan University.
Charlie Batch(above), floundering outside the Steelers practice facility, had enough time on his hands to handle Pryor's recruiting load.
One question looms in the aftermath of Pryor's announcement. "What," an impatient Lichtenfels demanded, "is he going to do with himself now?"
A smiling Pryor seemed to know as little as anyone else. "I've thought about basketball, but even there-- I'm ranked in the top eight small forwards in the country. That's satisfying enough. I'm looking at some completely unrelated fields. Literary theory, fire protection, organic chemistry. There's no Top 100 Particle Physicists ranking out there," Pryor noted with a laugh. Coach Rodriguez soon commented on several openings in the Michigan Physics department.
A relaxed, relieved Pryor will weigh his career options. "This recent publicity might even propel me further into the public spotlight. Fireman, astronaut, political office. The sky's the limit. I guess not for astronauts, though."
Still, Pryor seems to be the only family member comfortable with his recent decision. "Terrelle's passed on his greatest talent," Toni Pryor, Terrelle's mother, remarked. "He knows it's now his responsibility to take up something with which he'll achieve greater success-- especially financially."
Terrelle Pryor indicated that the premature material promises of universities, boosters, and agents simply outweighed the risk of injury or failure at the next level. "We'll live off of that for a while."