Need something new, something fresh that doesn't involve Beanie Wells' foot or how many times Pete Carroll is going to look at himself on the television feed of the game? Here's a long profile piece on Terrelle Pryor — the Buckeyes' star recruit at quarterback — who many Buckeyes feel has been hidden in the lead-up to the USC game. We'll see. But the profile of an athlete from a small town who has been called a melding of LeBron James and Vince Young and drives 115 miles an hour on his way to Ohio State, is fascinating and well-done. Pryor had hopes of being the first player to ever be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft and the NFL Draft? Once jumped a grown man to score on a touchdown run, "Only way to go was up." Good lord. Read on. One of the most fascinating angles to this story, and there are many, is the degree to which Pryor comes to represent his small town — Jeanette, Pa. And how many people have been following him as a special athlete since he was a young kid.
"Third grade to sixth—it’s that time of life when magic is always just around the corner, when life hasn’t beaten it out of you," Klimchock says. "If Terrelle has a fault, it’s that he still hasn’t learned that magic isn’t always possible. All the times on court he’d try to thread a pass through a wall of defenders and it didn’t happen, he’d look at me, mystified. I’m halfway thinking There’s a wall there. But the other half, I’m mystified myself, because I’d expected it to go through."
He grew four inches, to six-four, and the look in his eye got even darker. "It was like the year Robert Johnson went away, sold his soul to the devil, and came back possessed," Klimchock says. One evening before practice, early in Pryor’s freshman year, Klimchock found him standing with his back to the basket, six feet out. "He says, ‘Coach, look,’ takes off backwards and throws it down, all backwards," Klimchock recalls. It defied physics, and it defied imagination to try it. "I thought, The body alone cannot do this," Klimchock says. "Something has to happen in the mind."
How about Pryor's high school graduation party?
That much is clear at Pryor’s graduation party in late May, held downtown at the American Legion Hall. For four hours, there are never fewer than 400 in the hall. Pryor, aglow in an orange Lacoste shirt, has a lantern-jaw smile for everyone as he works the room, signing place mats ("So this is for everyone at Nancy’s Diner?") and picking up babies ("God, she’s a beauty, isn’t she?"), then moving on the instant there’s a pause. As the day draws to a close, there are a lot of long faces. Jeannette’s first citizen is all grown up and leaving home.
Honestly, I could pull out paragraphs like this for the entire post. Snoop Dog's son making fun of one of Pryor's duck passes by breaking out an Aflac joke? One final quote from a high schooler's phone call to Coach Tressel: "Hey, Coach, Snoop called me TP," he says into one cell phone, using his free hand to photograph a seagull with another, an iPhone. "Oh, yeah, and Joe Montana worked with me on my mechanics. A little." Just go read the story. The Hunted [Details]