So it begs the question, would you consider Pryor’s time in Columbus a success or a bust? Pryor was widely considered the top prospect in the country coming out of high school in the 2008 class. He held out on National Signing Day 08, but after his alma mater Jeannette, Pennsylvania High School won their state championship, the 6-foot-6 signal caller picked the Buckeyes on March 19, 2008.
Pryor picked Ohio State over Oregon and Penn. State.
So with Pryor leaving Columbus early where does this land him amongst the top high school prospects in the country?
In 2002, a QB named Vincent Young from Houston, TX, Madison High School was considered the best quarterback in the country, and by most people the best player in the country. Young chose the University of Texas in 2002, and led the Longhorns to National Championship in 2004, and became the first player to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.
Young finished his career in Austin with 444 passing attempts for 6,040 yards, and 44 touchdowns. Young rushed for 3,127 yards and 37 touchdowns. Young averaged 6.8 yards a carry on 457 attempts. The 6-foot-5, 195 lb signal caller from the Lone Star State was drafted number 3 over all by the Tennessee Titans, and the first quarterback taken in the draft.
2003 featured a combination of players at the top of the list for top high school prospect. Ernie Sims out of North Florida Christian High School in Tallahassee, Florida was easily the best linebacker in the 2003 class. Most people considered a runningback out of San Diego, Helix High School by the name of Reggie Bush the best player in the class, and maybe the best high school player of all time.
Sims chose the school in his back yard in the Florida State Seminoles. Bush ended up choosing the Southern California Trojans. Sims finished his career at Florida State playing in every game that he was on campus for, starting every game his sophomore and junior seasons. Sims left Tallahassee after his junior season for the NFL. In 2006 Sims was drafted number nine over all by the Detroit Lions.
Bush who some still claim was the most electrifying player they have seen on a college football field, helped lead the Trojans to an Associated Press National Championship in 2004, and the BCS National Championship in 2005. Bush took home the covented Heisman Trophy that 05 season. Since leaving college Bush and USC have been stripped of the 05 National Championship, and gave back the 2004 AP trophy. Bush chose to give back his Heisman, when allegations of the runningback receiving illegal benefits from an NFL agent. Bush was drafted as the number two over all player in the 2006 draft by the New Orleans Saints. Bush was apart of the Saints team who won the Super Bowl in 2009.
2004 gave us a pretty clear cut number one player. He was a runningback out of Palestine, Texas by the name of Adrian “All Day” Peterson. The talented Texan chose the Oklahoma Sooners over the home state Longhorns. Peterson arrived on campus in Norman and made sure no one forgot his name. As a freshman Peterson rushed for 1,925 yards and 33 touchdowns on 339 attempts. He finished 2nd in the 2004 Heisman voting behind Bush’s teammate Matt Leinart. The highest that any true freshman finished in the voting ever.
In 2007 Peterson was drafted number seven over all by the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson is widely considered as the best running back currently in the NFL.
2005 had a list of high profile players from DeSean Jackson, Mark Sanchez and Darren McFadden. None of which were considered the “best” high school player. A lot of people considered Derrick Williams, an athlete out of Greenbelt, MD who racked up over 3,000 total yards of offense in his senior season the top guy.
Williams picked Penn State on National Signing Day. While at Penn State, Williams was named to the All-Freshman team in his first year in Happy Valley, despite breaking his arm after 7 games. The 6-foot-0 198 lb speedster played quarterback, wide receiver and runningback as a freshman. After the broken arm Williams doubled as offensive weapon either in the backfield or split out wide, and as a kick return genius. In the 2009 draft Williams was picked by the Detroit Lions with 82nd overall pick in the 3rd round.
2006 had one of the most stout classes of all, featuring players like Gerald McCoy, Matthew Stafford and C.J. Spiller. With out a doubt Virginia Beach, Landstown High School super star Percy Harvin was far and away the most dominant high school player in the country. Harvin a 6-foot-1 185 lb track star also pilled up 3,304 yards and 49 touch downs in his high school career.
Harvin chose the Florida Gators for his college career. Harvin helped lead the Gators to BCS National Championships in 2007 and 2009. Harvin forwent his senior year in Gainsville to enter the 2009 NFL Draft. He was picked as the number 22 over all pick by the Minnesota Vikings.
2007 included quarterbacks such as Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Mallett. None of which were considered the top prospect in the country. Most people considered Westlake Village, CA, Oaks Christian High School quarterback Jimmy Clausen the undoubtedly number one over all player in the country. A lot of people didn’t put into consideration that Oaks Christian had 7 division one players a long with Clausen.
Clausen picked Notre Dame and helped break the Irish 9 straight Bowl Game loosing streak. He did so by leading the Irish to 7-5 season and a win over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl. Clausen finished with a 15-21 record at Notre Dame, and left after his junior year to declare for the NFL Draft. Clausen was taken as the number 48 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. Clausen went 2-11 as the Panthers starter in the 2010 season, which led the Panthers to taking Cam Newton as the number one over all pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
In 2008 Pryor was the unanimiss pick for number one player in the country. His size and athleticism had every college in the country begging for Pryor’s signature on a National Letter of Intent. Pryor finished his high school career with 4,340 yards passing and tossed 44 touchdowns. Pryor also rushed for 4,238 yards and 75 touchdowns.
Pryor decided to leave OSU on Monday after being advised to by his lawyer.
2009 was a star studded class featuring players like Vontaze Burfict, Trent Richardson and Garrett Gilbert. There was never a clear cut number one player in this year. The big debate was between USC quarterback Matt Barkley, former Tennessee runningback, Bryce Brown, and LSU all world athlete Ruben Randle.
Barkley hails from quarterback factory Mater Dei High School, in Santa Anna, California. He started all four years at Mater Dei. Barkley threw for 78 touchdowns and 9,471 yards in his high school career. He never completed less than 57% of his passes. In 2011 Barkley completed 236 passes on 377 attempts, for 26 touchdowns last seasons.
Bryce Brown chose to play at Tennessee while Lane Kiffin was the head coach. He finished his freshmen season as the number two leading rusher on the team. After the season there was a lot of talk about weather Brown received illegal benefits while in Knoxville. Those rumors slowly became just that, rumors. At the first day of the 2010 Spring practice Brown announced that he would be transferring from Tennessee. Brown chose to go to the school his brother chose, Kansas State. Brown will play for legendary coach Bill Snyder.
Brown is a Wichita, KS native. He attended Wichita East High School where he rushed for 3,698 yards and 52 touchdowns.
Randle has been compared to a cross between NFL first round draft picks A.J. Green and Julio Jones. Randle is 6-foot-3 and 200 lbs. The the end of his sophomore campaign he has 33 catches for 544 yards and 3 touchdowns for his career.
2010 is still a list of unknowns. Florida landed the top recruiting class in the country with players like defensive end Ronald Powell, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle Dominique Easley. A lot of people consider Ronald Powell the number one player in the country.
The debate was between Powell, and Miami offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson for top player in the country. Powell is a Moreno Valley High School alumni from Rancho Verde, California. Henderson is a St. Paul, Minnesota native who attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School.
Powell finished his freshman campaign with 25 tackles and 1 sack. Powell is projected to be a starter on the Gator defensive line in 2011.
Seantrel Henderson is a 6-foot-8, 300lb offensive tackle who moves like a guard. He is long and athletic. Henderson originally committed to USC, but asked to be released out of his letter of intent after the NCAA handed down a post season suspensions to the Trojans. Henderson was rotated in and out of the Hurricanes offensive line group all last season.
-By Jimmie Allen