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You’re Nuts: Which Ohio State recruit had the most unreasonable expectations?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

From now until preseason camp starts in August, Land-Grant Holy Land will be writing articles around a different theme every week. This week is all about our Unreasonable Expectations. You can catch up on all of the Theme Week content here and all of our Unreasonable Expectations here.

Evaluating recruits isn’t an exact science. There are many factors that can change between high school and college for a recruit. Some high school players might pad their stats against weaker competition. Others might be playing in the wrong scheme to truly show what they are capable of doing during game action. Over the years Ohio State has done a great job at evaluating talent, as evidenced by the number of players that have gone on to be successful at the professional level.

While the Buckeyes hit more than they miss when it comes to the recruits they bring to Columbus, there are players that don’t live up to the expectations that are set for them. Sometimes the failure to live up to those expectations are the fault of the recruit because they aren’t ready to put in the work necessary to get on the field. Other times the reason they don’t live up to those expectations are because those expectations are ridiculously high.

Today we want to know what Ohio State recruit had the most unreasonable expectations. There are Buckeyes that stuck it out in Columbus for 4-5 years, and there are others that decided to hit the transfer portal to get a fresh start. Or if you are Tate Martell you’ll hit the portal a couple times and still struggle to see the field.

Today’s question: What Ohio State recruit had the most unreasonable expectations?

We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.

Brett’s answer: Quinn Ewers

Quarterback is always the most scrutinized position when it comes to recruiting. Schools are also trying to get a commit from quarterback prospects as soon as they can. A prime example is Danny Clark, who committed to Ohio State when he was in the ninth grade. Clark never ended up attending Ohio State or playing for the Buckeyes. Clark would attend Kentucky, Vanderbilt, as well as a JUCO program in Mississippi, and is out of football now.

The recruit I think had the most unrealistic expectations was quarterback Quinn Ewers. After originally committing to Texas, Ewers decommitted and not only decided to come to Ohio State, he reclassified so he could skip his senior year of high school. Not only was Ewers able to capitalize on a Kombucha NIL deal, he also was thought to be in the mix for the Ohio State starting quarterback position which was looking for a new starter after Justin Fields left for the NFL.

Any rational person would have known there was no chance that a quarterback that should be starting his senior year of high school wasn’t ready to come to Ohio State a couple weeks before the season and win the starting quarterback job. Then again, rational thinking can be scarce in the Buckeye fan base. Just look at C.J. Stroud, who fans were ready to bench after the Tulsa game. Stroud would go on to become a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist and was just the second overall pick the 2023 NFL Draft.

Ewers would eventually head back to Texas, and showed some signs of living up to the hype in 2022. Even though Ewers played well when he was healthy, he is on the other side of the coin now, as super prospect Arch Manning committed to Texas, and it seems like it’s not a question on if Manning can take the job from Ewers, but just a matter of when. It’ll be interesting to see if Ewers sticks around in Austin if Manning takes over for him, or if he hits the transfer portal again.

Matt’s answer: Terrelle Pryor

My answer is in the same vein as Brett’s. I’m going with a quarterback who, at the time, was the highest-rated recruit in Ohio State history and came in with sky-high expectations. And while not all of them were eventually met during his time in scarlet and gray, he did have more success as a Buckeye than Quinn Ewers... then again, he also helped to hasten the end of an era in Ohio State football.

Terrelle Pryor (before he became a Sr.) was a monumentally hyped player coming out of Jeannette, Pa. The No. 2 player in the country and the No. 12 player in the history of recruiting rankings, he signed with Ohio State in 2008 and everybody assumed that he would be the one to help Ohio State get over the hump that had led to back-to-back losses in the BCS Championship Game.

Unfortunately, despite his incredible athletic talents, that didn’t happen. While he was a very productive player for the Buckeyes — including a Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Rose Bowl MVP awards — the team was never able to capitalize on his specific skill set.

Pryor ended his OSU career with 6,177 passing yards and an additional 2,164 on the ground. His throwing totals put him seventh all-time in Ohio State history, but his teams never made it to the BCS title game, though the 2010 squad was ranked No. 1 in the country when they lost to Wisconsin 31-18 in Week 7. The Buckeyes didn’t lose again the rest of the season.

Pryor didn’t get a chance to finish his career with a BCS title, because — as we all know — he was at the center of what is perhaps the most idiotic controversy in college football history #Tatgate. I am in no mood to relitigate that traveshamockery, but it certainly put a black mark on Pryor’s OSU legacy.

Despite the unfulfilled expectations, controversial ending, and disappointing NFL career, TP is still one of the most incredible athletes to ever play for the Buckeyes. He might have shot put the ball a little bit, but watching that man run was a feat to behold. I don’t know if the otherworldly expectations that Pryor came in with were unreasonable or not, but I certainly feel like they have colored the way we think of his time in Columbus, and that’s too bad.