"People say youíre a magician."
"Heard that one a lot," he says. "Or the ĎHeís a jazzman, the way he improvises.í Nonsense. I did it before; they just never saw it, is all."
"Why did you choose Ohio State?"
"I like Coach Tress," he says, staring straight ahead, the needle twitching above 100. "Yíknow, at like 9 A.M. I still hadnít made up my mind. I just couldnít put it back anymore. I got so much grief about February 6. People saying I was grabbing the limelight, like I needed any more. I never asked to be the No. 1 prospect. I actually hated all that. Everything was moving too fast for me."
The first road sign for Columbus appears on the right, and Pryor turns to me. "Let me ask you a question," he says. "The last two Championship Bowl gameswho was there both times? Ohio State."
The speedometer hits 115. "Be there in less than half an hour. Iím tired," he says, leaning his head against the carís plastic doorjamb. Pryor brings up Tiger Woodsí miracle Friday at the U.S. Open last night, and Dottie Pepperís analysis of Woodsí focus on the green at 18: "Tiger has the ability to slow it down like no one else."
"Thatís it exactly!" Pryor says. "People always compare me to Vince Young. Me, I watch Tom Brady. Just watch Brady. So quiet in the pocket. Everything else is noise. He doesnít hear it. Heís keeping it slow."
"You realize youíre going 115 now? You say yourself youíre always doing 100 on the field."
"Thatís just . . . " He wavesat the road, the oncoming traffic, the first inkling of the Columbus skyline ahead. "Thatís just whatís out there, all that space between you and the goal. You watch Brady: Thereís no space, no miles per hour. Just him and that goal.
"Youíre talking about focus."
"Iím talking about living for the game," he says as we pull up to the Lex Wexner Football Complex in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. "I almost got my first birdie the other day, but I choked the putt. Gotta love Tiger. Itís hard to turn it off on the green."
"You play golf?"
"Nah. I just like hitting it. Messing around."
"On a par 3?"
"A par 5."
"You know most golfers wait a lifetime to miss birdie on a par 5?"
Pryor flashes me a "now youíre getting it" smile as he climbs out of the Sonata. But thereís nothing to get: Itís just him and the other 6 billion of us. "Thatís because they donít drive it 315 yards," he says.