In person, Paterno recruits Pryor

Posted: January 31, 2008

The Lion spent a winter morning in western Pennsylvania.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno visited Jeannette yesterday in a last-ditch attempt to woo Terrelle Pryor, the nation's top-rated high school senior, east to State College.

The 81-year-old coach arrived at Jeannette High - located just outside Pittsburgh - mid-morning and left just after noon, according to Jeannette athletic director Bob Murphy. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, Pryor's primary recruiter, and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno accompanied the elder Paterno.

The three coaches met with Pryor, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound quarterback; his coach, Ray Reitz; and Murphy. Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch and Pryor's mother were also in attendance, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"It went OK," Pryor said to the Post-Gazette. "I just don't know about the area up there."

Murphy described the meeting as "very cordial."

Penn State does not comment on potential recruits.

Pryor has narrowed his list to four schools - Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Oregon - with one week until national signing day next Wednesday. He planned on announcing his decision that day on ESPNU at 12:05 p.m., but told the Post-Gazette yesterday that he may push back his news conference a few days so he could make an official visit to Oregon.

"I'd say it's about 50-50 that I'll push things back," Pryor said.

Still, the high school all-American has given strong indications that he's leaning to either the Buckeyes or Wolverines. His only official visits were to Ohio State in the fall and to Michigan two weekends ago. At the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio several weeks ago, Pryor wore a Buckeyes decal on his helmet. Roy Hall, his quarterbacks coach, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Tuesday that his gut says Ohio State.

"A lot of things are telling me Ohio State," Hall said to the Plain Dealer. "In San Antonio, I was there and everyone he chose to hang out with were the kids from Ohio State and their parents."

Pryor, though, continues to insist Penn State is still in the running, despite publicly questioning the Lions' offense and the school's small-town campus.

The Lions are obviously hoping Paterno's appearance in Jeannette can sway the 18-year-old. The sight of the coaching icon on the recruiting trail has become a rare occurrence.

"Anytime he shows up," Murphy said, "you know it's important."

Pryor, meanwhile, will be in Philadelphia tomorrow as the Jeannette basketball team faces Chester at Villanova at 7:30 p.m.

"Let me put it this way," Murphy said, "if he's not coming, it's news to me."

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.

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