A few weeks ago, we here at SB Nation Pittsburgh did a Heisman Factor series featuring potential Heisman candidates at Penn State, West Virginia and Pitt. The Penn State piece focused on Evan Royster, and the consensus was that while it would be a long shot, the soon-to-be senior at least had a shot at the Heisman.
Just don't ask John Walters of Fanhouse.
Of course, the Big Ten has 10 other teams and, as noted earlier, 33 players not named Pryor who will attend its media days. A few of them, such as Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn and Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, are future top-15 NFL draft picks. Badger tailback John Clay, who led the Big Ten in rushing as a sophomore with 1,517 yards last season, could end up leading the nation in rushing this season. As might Penn State's Evan Royster, who will, barring injury, become the Nittany Lions' all-time leading rusher.
None of them, however, with the possible exception of Royster, is the type of player for whom you'd set your DVR for unless 1) you are an alum or 2) a scout.
Let the baseless hype begin!
Look, there's no denying how effective Pryor was in the Rose Bowl against Oregon on New Year's Day, nor is there any denying that the kid has a lot of talent. That said, to declare him not only the top candidate, but the only candidate in a league with so many capable players is incredibly foolish. Worse, to suggest he's the only player even worth watching suggests Walters is hopelessly blinded from reality by the hype that followed Pryor to Columbus.
Let's run a stat pack on Pryor's apparently scintillating appeal vs. that of our local quarterbacks in 2009 after the jump...
- Pryor: 2,094 yards, 18 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 56.6 percent completion, 779 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns.
- Daryll Clark (Penn State): 3,003 yards, 24 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 60.9 percent completion, 211 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns
- Bill Stull (Pitt): 2,633 yards, 21 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 65.1 percent completion, 51 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
- Jarrett Brown (West Virginia): 2,144 yards, 11 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 63.2 percent completion percentage, 452 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns.
Does Pryor jump off the page at you? Does he even look any more than average on that list of non-Heisman candidates from last year? What, Mr. Walters, do you see in those numbers that suggests Pryor is leaps and bounds a more exciting player than anyone else in the league?
Of course, as a junior his numbers are sure to improve in 2010, and with a stacked team behind him, it'll be hard to keep him out of the conversation if the Buckeyes stay in the national title race. That said, you can't throw out players like Royster and Clay and name him the league's only candidate based solely on his potential. It's irresponsible and ignorant to the accomplishments of some of the other great players the Big Ten has to offer.
It's July 29, John. Save stuff like this for November when Pryor's proven he truly stands alone.