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Is Terrelle Pryor Actually Underrated?

What do Virginia Tech, TP, and Erin Andrews have in common?  According to CBS's Brian Stubits, they're all overrated.  Seeing as it is we do things with a Big Ten bent here, I'll limit my response to Terrelle Talk.  Mr. Stubits is smart to point out that "Saying something is overrated doesn't mean something isn't good. For example: the second-best team in the country can be overrated if it's declared to be the best team in nation."

Good frame of reference.  So what's the beef with Pryor?  Well, says Stubits:

He still has to prove he can do an essential part of quarterbacking -- pass effectively. In his first season he only attempted more than 20 passes in one game. Not to mention, I'm still having a hard time ignoring back-to-back 5 for 13 games against Michigan and Texas to close out his freshman campaign.

I agree.  In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't (except perhaps Ohio State Offensive Coordinator Jim Bollman, who I suspect sits in his basement late at night in his underwear and watches game tape from before the legalization of the forward pass). 

But, as long as we're pointing to hard metrics of deficiency, why not levalize the playing field?  How do Pryor's debut numbers compare with other freshman signal callers on the road to greatness?

Last year Pryor played 13 games, attempted 166 passes and completed 60.2 percent of them for 1311 yards (an average of 7.9 YPC).  He threw 12 touchdown passes, and 4 interceptions.

By comparsion:

  • In 2006, Freshman Colt McCoy played 13 games, attempted 318 passes and completed 68.2 percent of them for 2570 yards (an average of 8.1 YPA).  He threw 29 touchdown passes, and 7 interceptions.
  • In 2007, Freshman Sam Bradford played 14 games, attempted 341 passes and completed 69.5 percent of them for 3121 yards (an average of 9.2 YPA).  He threw 36 touchdown passes, and 8 interceptions.

TP is pretty far off using these comparsions.  But wait, you say.  Those guys are classic throwing quarterbacks.  What about a comparsion to dual-threats?

  • In 2005, Freshman Pat White played 12 games, attempted 114 passes and completed 57.0 percent of them for 828 yards (an average of 7.26 YPA).  He threw 8 touchdown passes, and 5 interceptions.
  • In 2004, redshirt Sophomore Vince Young played 12 games, attempted 250 passes and completed 59.2 percent of them for 1849 yards (an average of 7.4 YPA).  He threw 12 touchdown passes, and 11 interceptions.

That's more like it.  When compared to similarly situated dual-threat superstars, Terrele Pryor might be a bit ahead of the curve.  As a freshman he threw more efficiently, and had a better touchdown to INT ratio than both Pat White and Vince Young.

Don't get me wrong, to the extent Pryor is featured in any pre-season discussion of Heisman merit, he is absolutely overrated.

But, if you look only at his numbers, he just might be a bit better than advertised.

Who knew?