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Pryor not ready to commit

February 7, 2008
By Josh Langenbacher,
JEANNETTE — A dozen television cameras and more than 50 members of the media piled into Jeannette’s tiny gym Wednesday afternoon.

Minus the indecisiveness of Terrelle Pryor, the scene had the makings of a significant announcement.

Instead, the country’s top recruit only announced he wasn’t ready to sign a letter of intent.

Pryor, a gifted dual-threat quarterback, appeared to be leaning toward signing with Ohio State as late as Tuesday before he sat down with his father, Craig.

‘‘Me and my dad had a battle of difference,’’ Pryor said. ‘‘He had a different mind and I had a different mind.’’

Craig Pryor is widely considered to favor Penn State, and Jeannette head coach Ray Reitz said Michigan is also high on his list.

Pryor’s mother, Toni, also may have let her guard down when asked if schools focused more on her husband than other schools.

‘‘I do have to say Penn State has been really good about calling,’’ she said, declining comment when pressed further.

Reached following his son’s press conference, Craig Pryor said he doesn’t have a preference.

As for his son?

‘‘If he does, he hasn’t mentioned it to me,’’ Craig Pryor said.

Reitz said he believes Penn State came on strong after head coach Joe Paterno, quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno and defensive coordinator Tom Bradley — who has handled the bulk of Pryor’s recruitment — met with Reitz, Terrelle Pryor, his parents and assistant coaches.

The contingent met at Reitz’s house for nearly two-and-a-half hours, discussing recruiting matters for no more than 20 minutes.

‘‘The rest of the time were general things, like stuff happening in Brooklyn 50 years ago,’’ Reitz said. ‘‘Stories that were great to hear.’’

Paterno, who is in the last year of his contract, also addressed his future, saying he intends to be around beyond 2008.

‘‘He made a big impression talking about the situation they have up there, good and bad,’’ Craig Pryor said.

The impression apparently was big enough that Terrelle Pryor decided to make an official visit, something he previously thought was unnecessary because of the number of times he has visited Penn State unofficially.

A date for an official visit is contingent on Jeannette’s basketball schedule, and Pryor also said he will visit Oregon after being quoted Tuesday saying the Ducks were eliminated.

Still, the dominant theme of Pryor’s press conference was Penn State.

‘‘Penn State, they’ve been hitting hard,’’ Pryor said. ‘‘I just don’t think I gave them a fair chance. Ö That’s the one thing I felt guilty about.’’

Pryor, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound phenom who became the first player in Pennsylvania high school history to rush and pass for more than 4,000 yards in a career, also had high words of praise for Jay Paterno.

‘‘He’s a great guy,’’ Pryor said. ‘‘So is coach Bradley. ... Tom Bradley knows the town now probably the same as my dad now. My dad’s in love with him.’’

Jeannette quarterbacks coach Roy Hall, who was quoted recently saying he believed Pryor would sign with Ohio State, backtracked Wednesday, calling the race ‘‘wide open.’’

‘‘I’m just saying from what I saw,’’ Hall said. ‘‘He was with eight recruits from Ohio State [at the Army All-American game]. Stevie Wonder could see that.’’

Pryor, who has until April 1 to sign a letter of intent, was flanked at the press conference by his mom, Reitz and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, who has acted as an advisor for Pryor.

‘‘As of right now, I’m not leaning toward nothing,’’ Pryor said.

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