COLUMBUS, Ohio — Terrelle Pryor’s disassociation with the Ohio State football program officially expired nearly seven months ago.
Apparently, somebody forgot to tell the Buckeyes.
On Tuesday, Urban Meyer’s official Twitter account posted a hype video touting the accomplishments of a long lineage of Ohio State quarterbacks. The 75-second clip included highlights from Les Horvath, Joe Germaine, Troy Smith, Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett.
Noticeably absent from the video, however, was Pryor, whose departure from the program in 2011 came as of the result of the now-infamous “Tatgate” scandal.
A long line of great quarterbacks continues in 2017!! pic.twitter.com/ojvzzc8n33
— Urban Meyer (@OSUCoachMeyer) February 21, 2017
Admittedly, my initial reaction to the signal-caller-centric highlight reel — which also served as a promotional package for new Buckeyes quarterback coach Ryan Day — was to side with Ohio State. Because of the nature in which he left and the statistics from the 2010 season that were vacated as a result of his NCAA infractions, Pryor’s career is tough to put into context. If you truly ignore the 2010 campaign — as the Buckeyes are supposed to do — Pryor’s college legacy is limited to a Rose Bowl MVP from his sophomore season.
When it comes to recruiting purposes, that’s hardly a strong sales pitch for the former No. 1 prospect in the 2008 class.
But upon further review, two clips in particular stood out as far as Pryor’s inclusion — or lack thereof — is concerned: The touting of former Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter and the inclusion of Kirk Herbstreit.
If there was a place in the highlight package for Schlichter, who is in the middle of serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for a sports-ticketing scheme, and Herbstreit, whose ho-hum career accomplishments were summed up as “1992 team captain,” then there should have been a spot for Pryor.
Yes, the less-than-ideal circumstances in which he left Ohio State make the matter complicated. But it’s been more than eight years since the “crimes” of ‘Tatgate’ were committed, which seem less harmless — especially from the players’ perspective — with each passing year.
“If you really knew what happened, there was nothing evil,” Meyer said of the memorabilia-for-tattoos-and-cash scandal in 2015. “A couple mistakes, terrible mistakes were made, but it was not with intent.”
What’s more is that unlike Schlichter and Herbstreit, Pryor is actually still a valuable recruiting tool. The prospects of today likely grew up watching the polarizing player compile his career 8,365 total yards and 76 touchdowns — regardless of whether or not they all still count. He’s also still a prominent figure in football, after catching 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns as a wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns in 2016.
An impending free agent, Pryor could be due a big contract in the coming offseason. And given Ohio State’s propensity for promoting its alumni now in the pros, that would seem like a a useful piece of a recruiting pitch.
When considering recruiting advantages that re-associating with Pryor could procure, the reality is there’s no downside to promoting one of your program’s most famous former players. And at this point, it’s insulting — both to the fans and to Pryor — to so blatantly refuse to do so.
Former Buckeyes linebacker Darron Lee seems to agree.
Don’t know how any Buckeye fan can still be mad at TP..We rebounded from it perfectly. Won the Nati few years later. Let it go.
— Darron Lee (@DLeeMG8) February 21, 2017
Terrelle Pryor played for Ohio State. I saw it happen. So did the fans and the Buckeyes’ recruiting targets, too.
Now it’s time for Ohio State to not only acknowledge, but embrace Pryor’s place in its program’s history.
Do you think the Buckeyes’ should embrace Terrelle Pryor? Vote in the poll below.