Pryor Goes No. 1, Gray Throws Curveball in Spring Game Draft
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS – For the second time in as many years, quarterback Terrelle Pryor was selected with the first pick in the annual Scarlet and Gray Spring Game draft at Ohio State.
After going to the Gray squad with the top pick in last year’s draft, Pryor will suit up for the Scarlet team Saturday when the Buckeyes conclude spring practice with their annual intra-squad scrimmage at Ohio Stadium.
There was some debate amongst the Scarlet seniors after winning the coin toss, but in the end it was a simple choice for Scarlet coach Taver Johnson and his predetermined players.
“We didn’t want to over-think the first pick,” said wideout Dane Sanzenbacher, who acted as the spokesperson for the Scarlet team Wednesday.
“There’s every which way you can think about going, where your strengths are, we thought about going maybe (defensive) line but we decided not to over think it and go with Terrelle.”
The biggest cause for debate was not the impact Pryor could bring to the team, but rather his availability. A year ago Pryor was live for two quarters but sat for one quarter and started the game in a no-contact black jersey, all of which limited his role in the Gray’s 23-3 win over the Scarlet last April.
OSU head coach Jim Tressel said he would not handcuff Pryor with the black jersey this year, but hinted that his junior quarterback will likely be protected in some capacity come Saturday.
“It’s the spring game, so obviously that’s up to the head man, but I’d like him to be live because that adds a whole other aspect to the game,” said Sanzenbacher, who caught 36 passes for 570 yards and six touchdowns with Pryor as his quarterback last season.
Gray Team Throws a Curveball
If the Scarlet team does have to play without Pryor for an extended period of time Saturday, they feel confident in their backup. That’s because they ended up with the team’s No. 2 quarterback as well in Joe Bauserman.
“In that sense I think we got lucky to get Joe Bauserman when we did because he’s very capable and has played in a few games and has had a decent spring ball game,” Sanzenbacher said.
So how did one team end up with both Pryor and Bauserman? Simple, Gray spokesman Chimdi Chekwa and his senior teammates elected to pass on Bauserman with the second pick (once a position has been opened the two teams must draft until all players at that position are gone) in favor of third-string quarterback Kenny Guiton.
“Kenny’s played very well so I can’t say it surprised me,” Sanzenbacher said of the redshirt freshman.
“He’s a guy that’s always been out there scrambling around trying to make plays so a lot of times in spring games in comes down to broken plays and making something happen. So I can see why they would go with Kenny on that.”
Scarlet gets their man
As Sanzenbacher mentioned, the Scarlet team considered opening defensive tackle as the first position of the draft but opted to stick with Pryor as the safe pick instead. It didn’t hurt them, however, because two positions later they were able to snag their man, sophomore John Simon, with the first pick at defensive tackle.
He joined a defensive line that already included senior Cameron Heyward, who was pre-assigned to the Scarlet team by the coaching staff along with fellow starters Ross Homan, Devon Torrence, Bryant Browning and Sanzenbacher.
The Simon selection came after the Gray team used its first pick to open the center position in order to draft starter Michael Brewster. They also ended up with redshirt freshman Jack Mewhort, who likely starts at right guard amidst a veteran offensive line that also includes seniors Justin Boren and Andrew Miller on the left side of the line and junior J.B. Shugarts at right tackle.
Boren was one of six starters assigned to the Gray team, the others being Brian Rolle, Jermale Hines, Dexter Larimore, Brandon Saine and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, who was cleared to play by the medical staff.
A few other eye-brow raisers
Along with Gray’s selection of Guiton over Bauserman, there were a few other surprising picks that highlighted Wednesday’s draft. The Gray team also elected to go with junior Nate Oliver as the first pick at safety over redshirt sophomore Orhian Johnson, who is slated to be the starting free safety for the Buckeyes this fall.
Oliver, who has been working with the first-team defense at the Star position this spring, will join Jermale Hines at the back end of a Gray secondary that also includes Chekwa and Dominic Clarke, who was the first cornerback off the board, ahead of both Donnie Evege and Corey Brown.
With Saine already assigned to the Gray team, the first tailback off the board Wednesday was Boom Herron, who also went to the Gray team. The Scarlet countered with Jordan Hall and Jermil Martin, but redshirt freshman Jaamal Berry fell to the Scarlet with the fifth pick amongst the tailbacks, presumably because of the ankle injury he suffered during last Saturday’s jersey scrimmage.
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