Monday, January 21, 2008

The Recruitment of Terrelle Pryor

I feel a little more comfortable discussing the Pryor situation right now, mainly because I don't think we'll find out anything new in the next several days.

To recap for those of you not paying close attention to recruiting, Terrelle Pryor is the consensus #1 quarterback and #1 overall recruit in the country, according to Rivals. He is out of Pennsylvania and reminds everyone of Vince Young at the same age, though he may be a) smarter and b) less strong-armed, by a little bit. He was looking heavily at West Virginia, Ohio State, and Penn State, among others earlier this season.

Two important things happened that have dramatically changed the recruiting landscape for Terrelle Pryor. First, Rich Rodriguez left West Virginia for Michigan. This eliminated West Virginia from consideration and opened up Michigan. It also, according to at least one poster at TigerDroppings, opened up other schools because Pryor feels a lot of loyalty towards both Rodriguez and Jim Tressel and may not be willing to be an intense rival of either, preferring instead to leave the Big 10.

The second thing that happened to change the recruiting landscape was that Pryor attended the Under Armour All-America Game and met Patrick Johnson. I had always heard this Johnson kid was a natural leader to whom other athletes gravitate. Apparently, Mr. Pryor has gravitated to Mr. Johnson so much that he regretted LSU's alleged failure to recruit him.* He made his thoughts public, and before you could say "Gary Crowton", the LSU coaches were on him.

He is not considering us. No one really knows how seriously he is considering us, but he's mentioning us in interviews. He's taking visits from our coaches. He's talking to us.

Obviously, we're getting in very very late. Possibly too late, and objectively we have to think it's unlikely that we get him. That's alright, because we have to try anyway.

This is a kid who, if we get him, could end up being the most important football recruit at LSU since Kevin Faulk (without whom LSU may still be an SEC also-ran on a level with Ole Miss). He's a guy who, if he's as good as advertised (which is considerably good), could be a guy who keeps us at the top not for the next 4 years, but for the next 10 years. He could solidify LSU as a permanent member of college football's elite until long after he's moved on to other things.

Or, you know, he could end up being a major disappointment who never really emerges as a good player and accelerates our descent into mediocrity. (See Lee, Xavier and Weatherford, Drew at FSU). But that's terribly unlikely.

Some say this whole thing is a bad idea because simply recruiting him could impact our current QB commitment, Jordan Jefferson. I would point at that when Jefferson originally committed to us he was the third quarterback on the commitment list. If Pryor was to sign with us, Jefferson would be one of only two. Even with Pryor, the situation is better for Jefferson than when he originally decided to come to LSU. It sounds like Mr. Jefferson is not scared of competition.

Others say that the star-gazers worried about Pryor are losing sight of LSU's other young QB, Jarrett Lee, who is allegedly developing well. I wouldn't know if he's developing well or not, but I know one thing. I know that we owe Jarrett Lee nothing other than a fair shot to compete for playing time. The addition of one highly heralded young quarterback does not and would not change Jarrett Lee's development, and would not change any discussion of whether Jarrett Lee was a starting calibre quarterback. All it would do is give LSU options. It's always better to have two good players rather than one.**

I'm not going to say we're getting this kid. I think it's still far more likely that we don't get him, but it's always fun to imagine and speculate.

*According to several posters, we didn't "fail" to recruit him. We made contact this past spring/summer and sent assistant coaches to Pennsylvania to look at him, which is a considerable expense of time and money for just one recruit. He just didn't show us the love in return. As I recall, when he narrowed his list down to ELEVEN this past summer, we weren't on the list. The LSU coaches decided that continuing to recruit him was a waste of time and money, which is a perfectly wise decision. They just didn't count on Patrick Johnson.

**Alright, it's not always good to have two good quarterbacks. But there's no guarantee about Lee at this point, and while it isn't ALWAYS good to have two good quarterbacks, it is NEVER good not to have any.

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