Evan Pryor: Ohio State running back suffers season-ending injury
COLUMBUS -- Evan Pryor didn't have the freshman season he envisioned at Ohio State.
His second year is also going to be marred by adversity.
The talented, versatile running back will miss the entire campaign after suffering a knee injury in training camp on Monday, dealing a blow to the depth of a position that looked like it would have a three-headed monster in the backfield.
Ohio State will still be able to build around record-setting sophomore TreVeyon Henderson and proven veteran Miyan Williams. But Pryor was generating some of the most excitement of any of the young offensive weapons after a breakout spring camp, and that momentum had continued in August until suffering what multiple sources indicated was a torn patellar tendon.
"Those guys all deserve to play," Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford said last week. "So, I've got to make sure they’re all ready to play -- because they all have shown the capacity and the ability to play winning football.
" ... Quite frankly, I hope there’s not a whole lot of separation. It means we’ve got some really good guys and not one guy who is a head above someone else. You’d like to have an opportunity to have three or four guys that you can throw in and feel comfortable throwing them in the fire."
The Buckeyes may still wind up with a three-man rotation, but Pryor will have to wait another season for his chance to make an impact for the program.
Henderson and Williams will lead the way as expected. But Ohio State always makes projections around a need for more than two tailbacks over the course of the season, and that may now mean expanded opportunities for touted newcomer Dallan Hayden.
There won't be a like-for-like replacement, though, for the dynamic combination of speed, explosion and ball skills of Pryor. Removing him from the offensive plans after spending all of spring and summer carving out a role for him will be a blow for the Buckeyes -- even if there are more than enough pieces still on hand for the nation's most prolific offense.
Evan Pryor was poised to make it even more dangerous.
But now he'll have to wait another year before finally getting the chance.