It looks like the sweepstakes to land talented quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Pennsylvania will likely go down to the veritable stroke of midnight - which for college football recruits is next Wednesday, national signing day.
Pryor, who is currently working his way through the final regular-season games of his high school basketball career, has given every indication he will allow the football recruiting soap opera surrounding him to play out completely. He is expected to make his college choice live on ESPNU.
Ohio State and Michigan are reportedly still his top two suitors.
The 6-6, 225-pound Pryor, a tantalizing blend of size, strength, speed and athleticism, is expected to grant an audience to Penn State coach Joe Paterno this week, and also meet with Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. Those meetings will take place in Jeanette, Pryor's hometown, southeast of Pittsburgh.
"The Pryor thing looks a lot like a standoff between two old heavyweight boxers - Michigan and Ohio State - both standing there punching away, and looking for a final-round knockout," said John Borton, editor of The Wolverine, an internet and publishing entity that chronicles Michigan's recruiting.
Pryor, who had 1,899 rushing yards and another 1,889 yards passing this past fall, led his team to a 16-0 record and a state championship. He ran for 33 touchdowns and passed for 23 more while accounting for 3,788 yards of total offense. He has blogged his way through the seemingly endless recruiting efforts of the college football superpowers that desire his services, but recently backed off an expressed desire to play both football and basketball in college.
"Now that I'm starting to get more realistic about this whole thing, I just think there's no way I could play both football and basketball," Pryor said on his Web site.
"I'm going to be pounding away at football, and if I want to win a national title, I'm going to have to work out and lift weights in the offseason, and maybe even go over films. Plus, I'll want to chill a little. I don't know if I can do all that, and play basketball."
He also indicated that his best-kept secret on his school of choice has created some awkward moments at his high school.
"The recruiting has gotten crazier in the past couple weeks," Pryor said. "One reporter dude from Detroit called the school and flipped out on our principal, the secretary, everyone, just because I wouldn't talk to him. My dad told me people have called his house and offered him thousands of dollars if he'd tell them where I was going to college. It's crazy."
While Pryor continues to command the spotlight, there has been other movement on the recruiting front for both Ohio State and Michigan.
The Buckeyes have rescinded their scholarship offer to Massillon Washington running back DeVoe Torrence for "off-the-field" issues, according to reports by Bucknuts, an internet and publishing unit that extensively tracks Ohio State's recruiting efforts.
The 6-2, 210-pound Torrence is considered one of the top running back prospects in the country, and he is the brother of Ohio State freshman wide receiver Devon Torrence.
Tressel also made a final pitch to Gainesville, Ga., defensive end Keith Wells recently. Ohio State is reportedly in contention with Tennessee and Notre Dame in its efforts to land the athletic pass rusher.
Michigan's Rodriguez is expected to visit New Jersey linebacker J.B. Fitzgerald this week in hopes of shoring up his commitment to the Wolverines. Fitzgerald has visited Michigan State and Rutgers recently, and a media report in New York indicated a switch to Rutgers was now a possibility for the 6-3, 225 pound Fitzgerald.
Michigan appears to have locked up Ohio linebacker Taylor Hill from Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. According to The Wolverine, the 6-2, 205-pound Hill backed away from an early commitment to Oklahoma and chose Michigan after considering Pittsburgh, Michigan State and Wisconsin.
Contact Matt Markey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6510.