Terrelle Pryor: I'll return as senior

Updated: November 11, 2010, 10:21 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Despite saying earlier this week that he'd like to play basketball again, Ohio State (No. 9 BCS, No. 8 AP) quarterback Terrelle Pryor is committed to football and has enjoyed his almost three years with the Buckeyes.

He's liked it so much, in fact, he swears he'll be back for his senior year.

"I'm a Buckeye until I break all the records," he said during preparations for the Buckeyes' showdown on Saturday at Ohio Stadium against Penn State.

The junior said he had no intention -- at least right now -- of jumping into the NFL draft.

"I feel like I want to get my degree and finish off strong and maybe have a better season next year with no losses," he said. "I love being here and I need to develop more knowledge as a human being and not worry about money and stuff like that.

"My mom works a little bit so I can use some of her money, and the money that we get here," Pryor said, referring to his scholarship and stipends that athletes receive for expenses. "I don't really have to worry. I can suffer another year, I just want to gain more knowledge as a human being before I leave."

Pryor recognizes that despite starting for the Buckeyes (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten) for almost three full seasons, he still has some unfinished business.

Plus, he wants to burnish his resume at Ohio State and have his name among the Heisman Trophy winners whose numbers are placed on the facade of the upper deck at Ohio Stadium.

"I want to get my degree, so I can finish that up," Pryor said. "I want to have a legacy here and maybe someday get my jersey hung up. That's one of my goals here as well. I think I just have to develop my brain, develop my mind and the way I'm thinking and how I control situations."

Coach Jim Tressel, who brought Pryor to Ohio State when the 6-foot-6, 235-pound colt was rated the No. 1 recruit in the country, isn't surprised the Jeannette, Pa., native feels that way.

"He is a guy that wants to make a difference for his team," Tressel said. "If he could do anything so that his team would succeed, he would do it."

That's why it was such a shock to some Ohio State followers earlier this week when Pryor sent two curious messages on Twitter.

The two-sport star in high school, who once considered playing both football and basketball in college, tweeted that he missed basketball. Then he tweeted a note to Buckeyes basketball player David Lighty asking if he could say something to hoops coach Thad Matta about Pryor trying out for the team.

A day later, Pryor declined to go into much detail about his feelings of also performing on the court for the fourth-ranked Buckeyes.

"I'm playing football right now," he said unequivocally. "That's it. I was just throwing it out there. I think all the time."

Some Ohio State fans were critical of him for even thinking about another sport when the Buckeyes are faced with a huge game against the Nittany Lions (6-3, 3-2) and have other big tests awaiting at Iowa and at home against archrival Michigan.

Penn State's 83-year-old coach, Joe Paterno, tried hard to keep Pryor in his home state three years ago. Perhaps adding fuel to the fire, JoePa also mentioned Pryor's prowess on the court this week.

"He was a great, great high school player -- and not only as a football player, a heck of a basketball player," Paterno added, without a wink. "We tried everything we could to try to get him to come to Penn State."

Pryor has a bit of history against the massive program in his home state. A year ago, he accounted for all three touchdowns -- breaking the game open with a 62-yard scoring toss to DeVier Posey in the third quarter -- in Ohio State's 24-7 victory in Happy Valley.

A year earlier, the Nittany Lions stopped him on a critical fourth-and-1 situation near midfield late in a 13-6 victory over the Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium. That remains the only home loss for Pryor as a starter.

And it still haunts him.

"I took the Penn State game my freshman year so (hard) that maybe it was like the end of the world that we lost," he said. "I'm from Pennsylvania and I thought it was a big deal, but it's really not. It's the same game, and we're going to have those losses."

The win a year ago helped ease the ache of the loss in 2008.

"Playing there definitely took pressure off my chest," Pryor said. "As I grew up and got older you have time to think a lot. I'm a big thinker and I look back at it as you're playing all these games and if you keep playing this game a long time you're going to take a lot of losses and I'm going to win a lot of games."

He added, "I just look at it as you've got to get on to the next one. That's the way I'm going to view everything -- on to the next thing."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press