Shortly after the chapter ended on one of the most hyped recruiting sagas in college football history, I caught up with Jeannette high school head coach Ray Reitz for his analysis on Terrelle Pryor's (Jeannette, Pa.) decision to attend Ohio State. As much of the talk and speculation surrounding Pryor over the last year focused on his college decision rather than his actual college projection, we took a Scouts Inc. approach on Thursday seeking analysis from the person who knows ESPN's 2008 No. 1-rated quarterback's abilities and potential as a future Division 1 player perhaps better than an anyone.
Tucker: What are the biggest adjustments Terrelle will have to make as a college quarterback?
Reitz: Terrelle's amazing physical skills should be an advantage even as a college freshman; he should have no problem adjusting to the speed of the game. The area he will need the most work on is the mental part. At our level, Terrelle could wait on a play and for a receiver to come out of his break before throwing. In college versus defensive guys with quicker recovery speed, he will need to work on his timing and rhythm, getting the ball out earlier. Obviously he will see more disguising defenses and will need to work on reading coverages faster. His delivery and ball fakes will probably need some refinement as well.
Tucker: How quickly do you think he will adapt?
Reitz: Terrelle is a quick learner and a very coachable kid who wants to get better. People forget that he played two-ways for us and has not concentrated on just playing quarterback. That shows you his untapped ability and great potential at the college level. I think he will adjust and learn very quickly under quarterback coach Joe Daniels at Ohio State.
Tucker: What do you think Terrelle's role will be as a freshman at Ohio State?
Reitz: It depends on what he and they want do. Ohio State has a good starting quarterback (Todd Boeckman) coming back and supposedly a good backup. Terrelle could always redshirt, learn the system and develop; that would give him four good years to play. I could also see him being used like Tim Tebow when he was a freshman at Florida, playing in different packages. He might be too good and athletic to sit on the sidelines.
Tucker: Does Terrelle (originally labeled as an athlete in the 2008 ESPN 150) have a chance to play another position as he waits his turn at quarterback?
Reitz: I will tell you a funny story. I took Terrelle to camp at Gateway High School one year and there were college coaches walking around evaluating kids. Well, Terrelle lines up at receiver just goofing around running routes and these coaches start tapping each other going "my God" look at how athletic he looks. He was drawing comparisons to Calvin Johnson. I grabbed Terrelle aside recently and joked with him about not letting the Ohio State coaches see him play another position if he wanted to continue playing quarterback. I really think he could play and do well at almost every position at the next level except on the line. Terrelle is really a special player.
Sherman keeps momentum for 2009
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman has to be satisfied with the class he signed February 6 considering his short window of time. He quickly built trustworthy relationships after his hiring with top inherited prospects, like ESPN 150 defensive tackle Rodrick Davis (Houston/Dwight D. Eisenhower), and also lured a few blue-chippers of his own, like ESPN 150 running back Cyrus Gray (Dallas/DeSoto). The former NFL head man regarded as a great football mind but reserved in personality, silenced his early recruiting critics with a top-25 class in his brief time back at the college level.
The Aggies are quick out of the gate in 2009, boasting six commitments in the early going and all on the ESPN 150 Watch List. This week, A&M received a pledge from Hutson Prioleau (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal), an in-state tight end prospect with striking size and good ability as both a blocker and pass catcher. Prioleau's skills as a run blocker should only improve in college as his large frame continues to physically develop complementing his strong hand technique and aggressiveness in the trenches.
Joining Prioleau on the line will be tackle Ivory Wade (Dickinson, Texas) and guards Clint Naron (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak) and Rhontae Scales (Killeen, Texas). All three have good size and college upside but are stretches for the ESPN 150 at this stage of our early film evaluations.
Sumlin building from his backyard
Newly hired University of Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin is already taking advantage of his strong recruiting ties to the Houston area, presumably a decisive factor in his December hiring. Regarded as relentless recruiter, Sumlin received a commitment this week from Thomas Bates (Baytown, Texas/Robert E. Lee), an ESPN 150 Watch List safety and potentially the Cougars' first 150 prospect in their last four classes.
He needs a bit of positional polish, but Bates is a ballhawk on film showing great range and acceleration chasing down ball carriers. He does lack some size and could be a reach for the ESPN 150 at this time, but his commitment is an auspicious sign for Sumlin on the recruiting trail. If the former Oklahoma assistant can start consistently landing the residual in-state talent overlooked by more prominent programs like Texas and Texas A&M, it could spell trouble for the rest of Conference USA and soon end the drought of bowl a win.
While Rich Rodriguez lost out on a prize quarterback this week, his successor at West Virginia perhaps landed the Mountaineers' future replacement for Pat White. Bill Stewart may not have signed the type of talent he wanted in 2008, but the first-year head coach is off to bang in '09 with a verbal from highly sought-after ESPN 150 Watch List quarterback Tajh Boyd (Hampton, Va./Phoebus). Fellow Watch List receiver Logan Heastie (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) gave a pledge to the WVU program this week as well. Tom Luginbill says Boyd projects as a better all-around signal caller than White.
Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school level. Tucker has served as a recruiting coordinator for two nationally ranked Division II colleges. Most recently, he was the associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Merrimack College, which advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 2006 NCAA Division II playoffs.