Watch :: - OFFICIAL
Status: Uncommitted | Class: Senior (2021)
Status: Uncommitted | Class: Junior (2022)
By Dave Krider
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound superstar always had pictured himself as a basketball player first, with football definitely in the background. The summer before his sophomore year, in fact, he was oh-so-close to leaving home to specialize in basketball at
“I was probably a couple days from flying down,” Pryor told MaxPreps.
That’s when Jeannette head football coach Ray Reitz and quarterback coach Roy Hall came up with their best sales pitch. There was no pressure, but Reitz said simply, “We don’t care if you play basketball, but give yourself a chance in football.”
Pryor admits, “If they wouldn’t have said (talked to him), I probably wouldn’t be here now.”
Even though Pryor was convinced to stay and play both sports, he made a basketball commitment to the
The rest is history as Reitz noted happily, “His junior year he exploded and his senior year was incredible.”
Last fall the brilliant quarterback was named the nation’s No. 1 offensive player by every major publication, including MaxPreps. His statistics were mind boggling. He ran 143 times for 1,899 yards (13.3 average) and 33 touchdowns. He completed 87-of-130 passes for 1,889 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also scored on one pass reception and one interception return of 100 yards. Roughly, he accounted for a touchdown once every four times he ran or completed a pass.
The bottom line is that the 2007 Jayhawks won
Pryor joined – and perhaps passed – such
Asked where Pryor ranks in state history, Reitz replied quickly, “Remember Frank Merriwell (legendary fictional hero)? He (Pryor) had a story-book career. The way he matured and became a leader was so special. Not only does he have the ability, but he puts the time in, too. The greatest thing is that he’s very unselfish and for the total team. He’s one of the best athletes ever to come out of
Reitz stresses that Pryor is a true quarterback – not just a great athlete playing quarterback. But he also used him at times at linebacker, defensive end, safety and receiver. He also could see him starring in track as a sprinter (he has run 40 yards in a blazing 4.35 seconds and ran 200 meters in 22.4 seconds as a freshman), high jumper, long jumper or triple jumper. Reitz added, “He could be a great volleyball player. I don’t think there’s any sport he couldn’t be great at.”
You can add baseball (where he used to hit long home runs in Little League) and golf (where he can drive the ball 280 yards with little practice).
Coach Reitz then paused and acted as if he had found a single flaw: “He might have trouble with bocce.” Asked what that is, he answered, “Italian bowling.”
Despite his huge success in football, Pryor continued to star in basketball. During his senior year, he averaged 21.9 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Jayhawks posted a 25-4 record and won the Class AA state title. He finished his career with 2,285 points – No. 8 in
Basketball coach Jim Nesser told MaxPreps, “I call him a point forward. He handles the ball and passes like a guard, but rebounds like a forward. As a senior he really matured and did whatever it took to be successful. He became very well rounded. He never worried about his stats – only about winning. He is one of the most competitive people I ever have been around. He’s really smart and mentally sharp about athletics. He is one of the athletes who lived up to the hype and really surpassed it.
“He’s a legend performance-wise. He was like a rock star, man. The media. Fans. Autographs before games. We sold out most of our home games (capacity 1,500). One playoff game they turned away 1,000 people at
Asked if playing dual sports helped or hurt Pryor. Nesser replied, “I think it helped him. The weight room really helped him (he can bench press 320 pounds). It was a good 1-2 punch for him. Could he have been better (in basketball) if he had been in the gym 12 months a year? Sure.”
When he was asked the same question, Pryor said, “Of course, it can make you better if you play only one. But basketball helped my legs (for football) and football (competitiveness) helped me in basketball when we were down 10 points in the fourth quarter.”
Pryor’s amazing career has been chronicled closely by veteran Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Mike White, who started covering prep sports in 1979. He believes that Pryor’s all-around ability can best be compared to Tom Clements, who graduated from Pittsburgh Canevin in 1971. He chose Notre Dame football (quarterback) over
There were other great multi-sport athletes, such as Dan Marino (Pittsburgh Central Catholic) and Lavar Arrington (Pittsburgh North Hills), but White is convinced that “From a high school standpoint, I’d put him (Pryor) No. 1. I talked to a Division I college coach and he said if he wanted to, he could play in the NBA. He has enough size, athletic ability and talent.
“He’s one of those guys who, when you go see them play, there are moments that you just go, “What?” And your jaw drops, both in football and basketball.”
White still is amazed by Pryor’s performance in the district championship against
Because White wrote so much about the Jeannette superstar, he became closely linked to him from a public perception. “It became a zoo at the end of this year,” he described. “I never saw a recruiting saga quite like his. It got so ridiculous that everywhere I went, people would come up and ask, ‘Where’s Pryor going?’ My own personal opinion: it was
Pryor’s maturity is quite evident. He admitted, “I didn’t really work hard except last year and this year. I just woke up, went out and played (on pure athletic ability).”
So, Terrelle Pryor – who will play no more basketball – studies the
Asked if he’ll ever see another Terrelle Pryor, coach Reitz quipped, “Maybe if I live to be 150. I hope I don’t have to coach against someone like him.”
Coach Nesser, who is going to miss those electric dunks the most, predicted, “I don’t think in my lifetime there will be an all-around athlete like him. I’ll be honest – he hasn’t reached his full potential yet. It’s going to be scary.”
Alabama looks to be very competitive this year with no team among the expected favorites off to a strong start. The Rebels reached the quarterfinals in 2019 and are off to a 6-1 start in 2021.
The 2019 state champions return eight players from that team, including the state's top prospect in Clayton Boyett and 2019 tournament player of the game Eli Malave.
The Huskies finished the 2020 season with an 8-0 record and the No. 1 ranking in the MaxPreps Top 25 when the season ended. Hamilton has won seven state titles under coach Mike Woods, including three in the past four seasons.
The Tigers return two of the state's top players in twins Keegan and Payton Allen. Both have committed to play at Big 12 schools next year with Keegan going to Oklahoma and Payton headed to Kansas.
JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano)
A strong senior class that includes potential first-round draft pick Gage Jump along with shortstop Cody Schrier and pitcher Eric Silva put the Lions at No. 3 in the MaxPreps Top 25 preseason rankings. They finished 11-1 last year, but will have an extremely tough Trinity League to navigate in order to finish high in the national rankings.
The Knights won eight games in 2019, but they could have one of the top rosters in Colorado this year. Greysen Carter ranks as one of the state's top pitchers, according to Prep Baseball Report, while center fielder Adam Moser is one of the state's top outfielders.
Amity Regional (Woodbridge)
Amity has three players who saw substantial time on the varsity back in 2019, including first baseman Sebastian Holt and catcher Jacob Crow. The Spartans went 19-12 two years ago and didn't take the field in 2020.
Sussex Tech (Georgetown)
Sussex lost in the second round of the playoffs to Appoquinimink in 2019 and didn't play in 2020. Catcher Jason Shockley returns as one of the top players in the state after making the all-state team as a sophomore.
District of Columbia
The Cadets went 30-3 in 2019 while winning the Washington Catholic League championship. Unfortunately the team will be without standout James Triantos, who has transferred to Madison (Va.)
The Tigers were ranked No. 2 in the nation with a 9-0 record when COVID hit last March and begin the 2021 season as the No. 1 team in the nation in the MaxPreps Top 25 baseball rankings. While the team doesn't have any superstars, it is has plenty of depth with the likes of catcher Cole Russo, pitcher Alden Segui, pitcher Dominic Castellano and outfielder BJ Graham.
An outstanding junior class, led by one of the top 2022 pitchers in the nation in Dylan Lesko, puts Buford at the top of the list in Georgia. Buford has nine players expected to play Division I ball at some point, led by Lesko who will play at Vanderbilt.
The Raiders were 13-7 in 2019 and 2-2 in 2020 when their season ended. 'Iolani should have one of the top shortstops in the state in University of Hawaii commit Kody Watanabe.
Eagle went 16-13 in 2019, but it returns two of its top players from that team in Chase Hilde and Ben Ford. Both all-conference picks, Hilde batted .417 while Ford batted .378 with two home runs.
Brother Rice (Chicago)
Although the team never took the field last year, Brother Rice returns 20 players from that squad, including outfielder Cameron Hill, who is ranked by Prep Baseball Report as one of the state's top players.
Columbus East (Columbus)
During a 25-5 season in 2019, Columbus East had five sophomores finish among the team's top 11 hitters. Pitchers Kaden Wise and Clayton Wilder combined for 15 wins on the 2019 team as sophomores.
Johnston returns three all-district players from last summer's Class 4A state championship team. The top two include first team picks Gabe Swansen and Ben Wilmes.
Blue Valley (Stilwell)
Blue Valley has four of the state's top eight ranked players by Prep Baseball Report. Leading the way is pitcher Cameron Liggett, shortstop Jackson Nicklaus, outfielder Chase Jans and first baseman Jack Tinberg.
The pitching staff should be outstanding this year with Ethan Wood and Christian Howe on the mound. Wood is a former MaxPreps Underclass All-America and earned all-state honors as a sophomore in 2019.
Barbe (Lake Charles)
The Buccaneers expect Jack Walker, an all-state pitcher as a sophomore to be fully recovered from an arm injury that would have kept him out of action for the entire 2020 season. Speed in the outfield could be Barbe's best attribute with Kameron Edwards, Ethan Medlin and Donovan LaSalle all returning.
Ellsworth was the top team in Class B in 2019, going 19-1 with a win over Freeport in the championship game. A total of 10 players return from that squad, making Ellsworth one of the more experienced teams in the state.
Although it doesn't play in the Maryland state playoffs, DeMatha is annually one of the top programs in the state. The Stags lost to St. John's in 2019 in the District of Columbia area playoffs.
Phillips Academy (Andover)
Look for Phillips to have one of the top outfields in the Northeast with Duke commit Jonathan Santucci leading the way. The pitching staff should also be outstanding with one of the nation's top sophomores, Thomas White, anchoring a deep staff.
St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake)
The Eaglets have three of the state's top prospects in shortstop Alex Mooney, pitcher Brock Porter and outfielder Nolan Schubart. Mooney also ranks as one of the nation's top infielders and could go high in the 2021 MLB draft. St. Mary Prep went unbeaten in its final 29 games to win a state championship in 2019, but did not play at all in 2020.
Mounds View (Arden Hills)
Led by catcher Will Rogers, one of the top prospects in the Midwest, Mounds View went 16-9 in 2019 and won the consolation championship over Eden Prairie.
Jackson Prep (Jackson)
The Patriots have an All-America candidate in shortstop Riley Maddox and seven other starters are back from a team that was 12-4 when COVID hit. Jackson Prep won the MAIS state championship over Madison Ridgeland in 2019.
Westminster Christian (St. Louis)
The Wildcats reached the state finals of the Class 4 playoffs in 2019 and they return three of the top players from that team in pitchers Zach Dantuono and Nick Moten and shortstop Adam Ebling.
Drew Christo, possibly the state's top player, leads the way for Elkhorn on the mound, but he's not the team's only standout. Prep Baseball Report has three Elkhorn players ranked among the state's top eight players, including Kyler Randazzo at third base and Malakai Vetock at pitcher.
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Two years ago the Gaels went 21-10 with six freshmen and sophomores seeing significant playing time. Those players, including catcher Gavin Mez, could put Bishop Gorman back in championship contention.
Bedford reached the finals of the 2019 Division 1 playoffs, falling to Londonderry 1-0 in the championship game. One of the top players from that team, pitcher Michael Pratte, returns after earning second team all-district honors as a sophomore.
Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey)
One of the top programs in New Jersey the past decade, the Ironmen didn't take the field in 2020 and went 14-11 in 2019. Don Bosco Prep expects to have a deep lineup in 2021 with nine players headed to the Division I level over the next few seasons.
La Cueva (Albuquerque)
The Bears have won 10 state championships since 2003 and were a favorite in 2020 with a 5-0 record to start the season. A total of seven lettermen return from last year's squad.
Poly Prep Country Day (Brooklyn)
Poly Prep is one of the premier programs in New York with 42 Ivy Prep League championships and 10 NYSAIS crowns. It has also been ranked among the top 100 teams in the country six of the past eight seasons. Greg Becil is one of the top players, recently signing a letter of intent to play at Lehigh.
Ronald Reagan (Pfafftown)
The presence of Josh Hartle, a potential MLB first day draft pick, makes Ronald Reagan a strong contender against any opponent. Reagan was expected to be a state contender in 2020 despite having a junior-dominated lineup. Those juniors are now seniors.
Sheyenne (West Fargo)
The West Fargo team finished sixth in the 2019 Class A state playoffs, but Sheyenne is expected to be the favorite this year thanks to the return of Alex Urlaub, who was on the all-tournament team in 2019 as a sophomore.
Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls)
Walsh Jesuit always seems to be knocking on the door of a championship in Ohio and this could be the year. Led by Michigan-bound shortstop Henry Kaczmar, son of coach Chris Kaczmar, and 2019 All-Ohio middle infielder Jake Armsey, Walsh Jesuit should be strong up the middle.
Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City)
With Jackson Jobe and Gray Thomas on the mound, Heritage Hall has perhaps the top 1-2 punch in the nation. Heritage Hall is a 4A school, but should be able to compete with 6A powerhouses like Owasso thanks to Jobe and Thomas, each of whom throw over 95 mph.
Lakeridge (Lake Oswego)
The Pacers have two of the top players in the state in 2020 in Cam Clayton and Derek Seneker. Clayton was honorable mention all-state as a sophomore in 2019 and has signed to play at the University of Washington.
Malvern Prep (Malvern)
Always one of the top programs in Pennsylvania, Malvern Prep went 32-7 two years ago and won the Inter-Academic Conference. Outfielder Lonnie White, the No. 2 player in the state according to Prep Baseball Report, leads the way.
Bishop Hendricken (Warwick)
The last time the Hawks walked off the field they were the Division 1 champions, posting a 22-2 record in 2019. After not playing at all in 2020, Bishop Hendricken returns five players from the 2019 championship team.
Summerville has had one of the top baseball programs in the state over the past half-decade and this year they sport one of the state's best power hitters in catcher Cole Messina. He batted .434 with 12 home runs as a sophomore in 2019.
O'Gorman (Sioux Falls)
The Knights won the state championship in 2019 and they return one of the ace pitchers from that squad in all-state pick Reece Arbogast.
The Red Raiders played one game last year before their season ended. Baylor sports one of the best infields in the nation in first baseman Vito Valincias, second baseman Cooper Kinney and shortstop Daniel Corona. Baylor had won two straight state championships prior to the incomplete 2020 season.
Lake Travis (Austin)
The Cavaliers have been a constant threat for the Class 6A championship for the past five seasons, winning over 30 games each season (except 2020). Lake Travis reached the semifinals in 2019 before falling to eventual champion Southlake Carroll. Coach Mike Rogers is one of the winningest coach in state history with over 700 wins. He has a pair of strong pitchers returning in Alec Grossman and Ethan Roark.
Maple Mountain (Spanish Fork)
The Golden Eagles field two of the top 5A pitchers in Tyler Nelson, an all-state pick as a sophomore, and Wally Averett, an honorable mention selection.
Champlain Valley Union (Hinesburg)
The Redhawks went 25-1 in 2019, winning a Division I state championship. Champlain Valley is 41-3 since the 2018 season. The Redhawks had nine players make the all-league team in 2019.
Hanover went 22-3 in 2019, losing to Great Bridge in the playoffs. Hanover has been one of the more successful teams in Virginia the past five seasons, going 21-3 in 2017 as well.
Bainbridge (Bainbridge Island)
Bainbridge got an invite to play in the National High School Invitational this year, but COVID has nixed the event for a second straight season. The Spartans have three pitchers throwing over 90 mph in seniors Nathan Deschryver and Kai Francis and junior Ian Ritchie Jr.
Jefferson (Shenandoah Junction)
Led by one of the winningest coaches in the nation in John Lowery, Jefferson won back-to-back state titles as recently as 2015-16. Lowery has won 12 state titles and was expected to coach his 50th season last year before COVID kept him from fielding a team. He'll take to the field this year for his 50th season that includes 1,313 career wins.
The left side of the infield may be unequaled in the state with Carson Shepard at shortstop and Liam Moreno at third base. Sun Prairie came within a run of winning a state title in 2019 and it returns all-state pick Josh Caron at catcher.
"This pandemic has been absolutely life changing and life altering for so many families," he said. "In the big scheme of things, for there not to be Northern California championships is OK. It's completely OK. It's just one of those things. It was impossible to pull off. I haven't heard one coach, athletic director or school be upset about it."