SAN ANTONIO - Jeannette, Pa., quarterback Terrelle Pryor is used to attention.
During home games, Jayhawk fanatics are following his every move expecting some sort of magic – and he usually provides it. On the road, opposing fans are hoping that for once he'll have an off game and give their team a chance to win. They usually go home unhappy.
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This weekend at the U.S. Army All American Bowl, Pryor will be on the biggest stage of his life. There will be plenty of armchair quarterbacks ready to judge his performance. And for the 6-foot-6, 235-pounder, that is exciting.
"I started to get pumped up a bit about it this morning," said Pryor on Sunday morning as he registered. "I had a basketball tournament this weekend, so I wasn't really focused on (the All-American Bowl). But this morning, I was excited.
It's cool to be here; it feels like a college or NFL feel or something. You're treated first class right away, and you're around so many other great players. I just appreciate being picked here and being with so many other talented players."
Pryor is expected to be the starter at quarterback for the East squad, although nothing has been guaranteed. He's hoping head coach Robert Prunty runs his type of offense.
"I hope it's a spread," he said. "All of our quarterbacks can move around, so it makes sense. I talked to the coach a little bit and he said he hopes to use it, but if he doesn't its cool. I also want to show people that I'm not just a running quarterback anyhow. I don't mind sitting in the pocket and throwing the ball around."
Pryor said he knows a bit about his receivers.
"I know Jonathan Baldwin is a big guy, I know Jake Stoneburner, the kid from Indiana (John Goodman and I know DeVier Posey because we talk a bit," he said. "I know we have a lot of good receivers on our team, and I know I'm missing some - so I apologize. But I'm excited about the group."
I just want to show people what I can do, show any doubters that are out there…I always have to prove myself. I'm just looking to enjoy myself while doing it.
- Terrelle Pryor on being ranked No. 1
What Pryor isn't familiar with is the speed and ability of the West defensive ends. That group is led by the nation's top pass rusher, R.J. Washington. Will Washington be able to surprise the East with his quickness like he has with so many others?
"We'll find out on Saturday," Pryor said. "This game will be played at a different speed, and there's a lot of talent out there."
Pryor knows that all eyes will be on him during the game, but he is also likely to be the center of attention at practice, too.
"I just want to show people what I can do, show any doubters that are out there," he said. "But I'm also here to have fun. This has always been a dream of mine to play in this game, so I want to enjoy the whole thing. All the critics or whatever, they don't mean anything to me. When you're ranked No. 1 by some people there's always a target on your back. I always have to prove myself. I'm just looking to enjoy myself while doing it."
Pryor's recruiting situation hasn't changed much.
"I've visited Ohio State already, I'm planning on taking official visits to Florida and Duke and Michigan, and I'm looking at Oregon and Penn State as my fifth one. Beyond that no dates have been set yet. I'll have to do that soon though. I'll be taking visits right up until the last weekend possible and will decide on Signing Day."
Every year at this event, players committed to one school always try to convince other players to join them. However, Pryor doesn't expect any specific attention.
"I think they'll talk to me, but everyone is going to try to recruit everybody down here," said Pryor. "I'm just looking forward to meeting all the kids on the East squad and on the West squad. I know a lot of kids already, but I want to get to know everyone."
Pryor experienced a bit of recruiting pressure within minutes of his arrival.
"J.B. Shugarts and Jake Stoneburner started in right away about Ohio State," he laughed. "I wore a Michigan sweatshirt here and they were all over me about that. They didn't like that much. It didn't mean anything, I just wore it because I liked the sweatshirt. But they were on me."
Many Ohio State commitments requested to be roommates with Pryor, but he'll be rooming with Pitt commitment Jonathan Baldwin. The OSU commits won't let the room assignment stop them from being persuasive.
"I know I'll be working him a bit," said Posey. "And I know I'll be working on him to throw me the ball in the game as well. I'd love for him to come to Ohio State, but he has to make the decision for himself. We all know that."
Big offensive lineman Mike Adams agrees.
"We're just all friends," he said of the Buckeye commitments. "We just like to hang out together, and we'll be friends no matter what happens."
For now, Pryor's focus is on the first practice.
"I just want to get out on the field," he said. "I came down here to play."