Pryor chose OSU as it runs a pro style offense (poorly) and is a huge program with lots of media attention and constant BCS appearances. Because Coach Sweater Vest had to 'punish' someone for the poor game vs. USC last year, he benched Boeckman wrongly and inserted Pryor to play a super limited role of game manager for the entire season. This wasted a year of eligibility and threw the kid ot the wolves since he had not had spring practice to learn the playbook. Coach SV asked a lot out of Pryor and lost some tight games vs. good opponents because he had a true frosh QB in there with no seasoning and a limited playbook. The hype and expectations have made people grumble about his play and development which is sad and some of this blame, if not most, should be placed on the coaching staff. He has a great arm, fast feet, NFL QB size, but he needs time to learn to play at that level. He also would have had time to add some weight to his frame and not take a beating early. Not every top QB recruit is Matt Barkley. I believe Pryor is the real deal and can play in the NFL. I just think he's at the wrong school with the wrong coach. Even has some jerk teammates who give mush mouthed cover for him. Where else could Pryor have gone and where would he be right now?
TP heads to Eugene, Oregon and does not enroll early. He comes in as a true freshman without any spring practice work just like at OSU. Coach Mike Bellotti would have most likely redshirted Pryor. He had some upperclassmen ahead of Pryor and would have looked to redshirt him, get him learning the offense and save a year of eligibility. He would have gone under the radar at Oregon for his frosh year. No hype, no failures, no terrible 6-14 for 100 yards in a win games. This year he'd be 2 or 3 on the depth chart and maybe see some action. The public would not know much about him, but the anticipation for the redshirt frosh to play would be bubbling, especially with the team running through the Pac 10 w/o him or their no. 1 RB. Playing on the west coast would also give him some cover from the media. It would be more relaxed than playing at the Horseshoe at OSU. OU's program recruits good skill position and O-linemen, so he would be surrounded by decent weapons. They run the spread, which is suited for his dual threat talents, but they do pass quite a bit. The attention might not be there, but it might be better for his development (slower).
Pryor from Pennsylvania playing in Happy Valley. Oh gosh, half of Penn would have exploded. With Daryl Clark and Pat Devlin last year ahead of him, JoePa would have redshirted Pryor to save some eligiblity and teach him the offense (the HD spread). PSU's QB coaching is a bit suspect, but if eh can follow the Clark playbook, with his superior talents, he'd be 2nd string behind Clark right now being groomed as the replacement to start for 3 years after Clark graduates. He'd get reps this year in blow outs. The hype and excitement for him would be incredibly high still. He could develop slower with just as much excitement. Right now at PSU, they'd be spitting nickels waiting for him to take over and the future would look bright. My concern would be recruiting the weapons for Pryor, but JoePa has really improved his recruiting the last 5 years.
Part of Pryor's reluctance to sign at Michigan was that Rich Rodriguez had a "Super Pat White" in mind when he saw Pryor. Pryor wanted to go to more of a pro style offense so he could be more ready & draftable for the NFL. Last year was horrible for Rodriguez, and I will blog that he'd have not reshirted Pryor. I think Pryor would be in a similar spot to where he is now except for one huge difference: his supporting cast would have been so bad that he couldn't be blamed for losses. He'd be that talented pianist in a dive bar collecting compliments from people who wonder why he's there (wow, that's the story of "Pianoman"). Rodriguez would have spent his offseason not recruiting Forcier and "Shoelaces" Robinson, but finding other talent in order to help Pryor. I don't see this college as a huge step up for development, but R-Rod has done better with Pat White than Coach SV has done with any of his QBs. I can see him working with Pryor to start from his spread option offense at first and then develop it more into a pass compatible spread as Pryor developed.
Now this would have been a great match for him. Premier conference, great coach, pro style offense that does run some option plays, and lots of weapons around him. I think Miles would have redshirted him since Pryor did not attend spring practices. He would have been on the sidelines, watching the abomination that was their duo of Lee and the Harvard in 2008. He'd be a starting redshirt frosh this year with a strong run game and defense to back him up. Primetime matchups each week and lots of TV exposure. Like Oregon, getting away from his Midwest roots might have been better for him. The battle over Pryor was a huge tug of war between Michigan-PSU-OSU. At LSU, he'd be set to start for the next 3-4 years. With the WRs at LSU now and coming in, he'd have good targets to throw to, and be marketable to the NFL as he'd play Florida and Alabama's defenses each year. LSU would have been his best fit. Coach Miles turning down the Michigan job to stay at LSU should tell you everything you need to know about Big 10 football right now.
Remote Possibility... Florida
Florida, yes Urban Meyer's Florida, was on Pryor's expanded list of schools. This would be murder to the SEC and rest of the nation. Urban Meyer would have had Tebow and Pryor to form a mobile QB legacy of nearly a decade. With Tebow there, he could redshirt Pryor, teach him the system, put some weight on his frame, and then use him this year as a change of pace QB like Meyer used Tebow as a true frosh. He'd then take over after Tebow's departure. It would be scary and bad for the rest of the NCAA. Meyer would have a stronger armed and faster QB than Tebow to run his system.