If all goes well for Jeannette (Pa.) High quarterback Terrelle Pryor during the next few weeks, he'll wind up at Penn State. Not for college -- though the Nittany Lions are among Pryor's four finalists -- but for the Pennsylvania Class AA state basketball final on March 15 at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.
Pryor has said that he doesn't intend to take more football recruiting trips until after his basketball season ends. If the Jayhawks reach the state final, Pryor would have 17 days to take official visits to Oregon and Penn State and choose a school if he intends to sign a National Letter of Intent by the April 1 deadline. Jeannette football coach Ray Reitz said Sunday that he expects Pryor will sign by the deadline. In an interview with Rivals.com on Monday, Pryor said he still is considering Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon and Penn State. Pryor already has taken official visits to Michigan and Ohio State.
Pryor told Rivals.com he originally planned to sign with Ohio State on Feb. 6, but his father, Craig, convinced him to give Penn State a closer look.
"I just have to figure out when I can take my Penn State visit," Pryor told Rivals.com. "I'd also like to visit Oregon as well because I hear the facilities there are amazing and the offense fits me, but I'm not sure of anything until basketball slows down."
That won't be anytime soon. The Jayhawks play next in the semifinals of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League playoffs. No matter whether they win the WPIAL title, they've already qualified for the state tournament, which begins March 1.
And if Pryor, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound wing forward who received basketball scholarship offers from USC, Penn State and others, plays the way he did in a 64-54 overtime win Saturday against McDonald (Pa.) South Fayette, his football decision may have to wait. Pryor scored 24 points, grabbed 24 rebounds, blocked eight shots and dished out seven assists. Jeannette basketball coach Jim Nesser called it Pryor's "best overall game" in three seasons.
"To me, he seems a little more at ease," Nesser said. "I don't know why, but he seems to be a little more comfortable with things around him right now."
Pryor said the attention has quelled since National Signing Day, when he held a press conference to announce he would delay his decision. He said he gets the NCAA-allowed one phone call a week from each program recruiting him. He also has turned down most media requests.
"I don't want any more attention," Pryor told Rivals.com. "I just want to make my decision with the people close to me."
But Pryor can't completely avoid the spotlight. South Fayette fans jeered him so lustily Saturday night that two were escorted from the stands by police officers. After the game, Pryor approached the stands and responded to the crowd before teammates pulled him away.
Pryor's actions drew criticism from one local newspaper. That criticism annoyed Nesser, who said South Fayette fans were extremely abusive.
"I know fans pay their money, you've got to remember, Terrelle Pryor is a senior in high school," Nesser said. "He's a kid. He's not a professional. He's not getting paid to play. I know fans have the right to say what they want, but the kid still has feelings."