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Ohio State running back Evan Pryor is ready to get back on the field following 2022 injury

Pryor missed all of last season with an ACL injury last August

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

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There has been a lot of discussion about the Ohio State running back room coming into the season and the talent that has accumulated at the position. While the Buckeyes are hoping to get TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams healthy for the season, they are getting another potential contributor back as well.

Evan Pryor.

Pryor recorded 21 carries for 98 yards and one touchdown in four games during his freshman season in 2021 and the expectations were rising for the back heading into his sophomore season. However, just over a year ago to the day, Pryor suffered a knee injury that ended up being a torn ACL, causing him to miss the entire 2022-23 season.

Pryor came into Ohio State as a top-100 recruit in the 2021 recruiting class, the same class as Henderson. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back from William Amos Hough High School in Cornelius, N.C. had a great offseason following his freshman year, but all of that momentum was derailed by the injury.

Now, Pryor is working his way into an increasingly crowded room that has five guys all ready to contribute. Reports out of fall camp have indicated that Pryor is healthy and showing signs of the promise that we saw early in his career. However, the physical return isn’t the only key aspect of returning from a serious injury. Part of being able to come back completely is maintaining confidence in yourself and your body and staying positive, something Pryor has apparently been able to do.

“Obviously, when someone’s out, it’s kind of like out of sight, out of mind for some people. Not for me and this building,” running back coach Tony Alford said. “But his demeanor has been fantastic from all indicators. He’s done everything he’s supposed to do to get himself back in order to play, and I’m so excited about where he’s going.”

When looking back at last season, one has to wonder what Pryor might have been able to contribute to the Buckeyes with Henderson and Williams dealing with injuries. Chip Trayanum and Dallas Hayden stepped up to fill in the gaps in the backfield and performed well, but Pryor was expected to be the third running back on the depth chart before his injury, so what could he have accomplished in 2022?

As Buckeye fans saw last season, you can never have enough depth, especially at running back, which is undoubtedly the most physical of all skill positions. So, it should benefit the Buckeyes to have a healthy Pryor back in that rotation.

As a reminder, since we have yet to really see Pryor show off his abilities on the field, it might be helpful to remember what the expectations were for him when he came to Columbus.

“He has a compact build that has begun to fill out late in his high school career. Has the frame to carry over 210 pounds at the college level,” 247Sports Charles Powers wrote. “He has shown very good speed on the track, with track-verified 100-meter times in the 10.8-second range entering his junior season. He is a loose runner with a natural gait and lean body. Has the ability to change directions without losing much speed and shows high-level lateral agility. Looks like one of the better pass-catching running backs in the 2021 cycle. Productive and skilled in the passing game on Friday nights and in the 7-on-7 setting. Will need to keep showing high-level production consistency as a runner on a snap-to-snap basis. Projects as a multi-year starter at the Power Five level with the upside of developing into an early to mid-round NFL Draft pick.”

Pryor is now presumably fully healthy and he is ready to show that he can be the productive back for the Buckeyes everyone has wanted him to be. Don’t be surprised if you hear his name a lot this season.