The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.
Pryor willing to sit out season in protest
After a series of racists videos and Snapchat messages were made public on Twitter by a student at William Amos Hough High School in Cornelius, N.C. on Wednesday night, Ohio State running back commit Evan Pryor – a rising senior at Hough – took action with his own post on Twitter.
Pryor put out a message that he experiences racism every day at Hough High School and that he is willing to sit out his senior season in protest if social changes are not made at the school and if racism is not addressed:
On Thursday night, Pryor made an appearance on The Charlotte Observer’s live streaming show, Talking Preps, to discuss the situation, what he hopes will be accomplished through his protest and the support he’s been receiving all around.
“They’ve just all been behind me 100 percent,” Pryor told The Charlotte Observer. “I talked to my principal, the AD and a few of my coaches this morning – just talking about, ‘Hey, Evan. We’re all behind you 100 percent. We’re all in with the changes. We’re ready to make things right and see some progress around the state.’
“We’ve met a few times since the tweet was released. They’re behind me 1,000 percent. We’re just trying to come together to think of solutions to stop this and to bring awareness to it and get progress moving in the right direction.”
Talking Preps: Hough High star talks about possible season protest https://t.co/9MFcHyT9yJ— The Charlotte Observer (@theobserver) June 25, 2020
Pryor said he had a class previously with the student who made the racist remarks but has not talked with him. He said his Hough teammate Curtis Neal – a defensive tackle in the 2022 class who, like Pryor, holds a laundry list of high-caliber Power 5 offers – has spoken with the student, and Neal joined Pryor in being willing to sit out his junior season if changes are not made.
“I believe so,” Pryor said when asked if he and his teammates were truly willing to sit out if changes were not made. “If it gets to that point and there’s no change and it only gets worse, I’ll do what I have to do because at some point it has to end. We can’t just let this keep going on around the state. If it gets there, yes, I’ll sit out. Hopefully, in talking with my AD and principal, I don’t think it’ll get to that point. I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.”
Pryor’s protest is similar to the one Oklahoma State star running back Chuba Hubbard vocalized recently after seeing his head coach, Mike Gundy, wearing a One America News shirt in a photo that went viral on Twitter. After Hubbard stood up and tweeted, in part, “I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things change,” Hubbard’s willingness to boycott the season was backed by his teammates, which led to discussions with Gundy that led to promises of change within the program.
I will not stand for this.. This is completely insensitive to everything going on in society, and its unacceptable. I will not be doing anything with Oklahoma State until things CHANGE. https://t.co/psxPn4Khoq— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) June 15, 2020
“I did see what Chuba did on Twitter, and I thought it was very effective because football is a huge sport in America, and everyone loves to watch it,” Pryor said. “If you’re a huge figure in the sport, I feel like people will support it. He was using his platform, and that’s something I’m trying to do right here.”
When asked what exactly Pryor wants to see comes out of this entire situation, he said that he wants “to see us all be held accountable to the same standard. If an athlete of my caliber may have messed up off the field, everyone’s on it as soon as they hear about it – ‘this athlete did this; this athlete did that.’ Well, I wanna see that go for the regular people around here too who are messing up, using the N-word, things like that. I wanna see them be held accountable and for there to be consequences for that.
“I want to see changes through (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) or maybe throughout the state. I was talking to my principal this morning, and she was telling me, ‘Evan, this is messed up. There’s no way anybody should be saying things like that, but with it being summer and with it being out of school, there’s not much that can really go on about it.’ But I wanna see something that’s put into the system that even in the summer or if we’re not in school something that keeps that person or anyone who has something like that to the standard.”
Pryor then said that this is “not the first time something like this has happened. This is just the time where I had to say, ‘This is it. I can’t take any more.’”
Pryor, who said he is going to continue to use his voice to speak out against social injustices, says that Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford and head coach Ryan Day are both fully supportive of his decision to sit out his senior season if it comes to that.
“I talked to Coach Alford about it today. He was just saying how brave it is of me to do this,” Pryor said. “They’re behind me 100 percent and praying for me because anything that happens like this to anybody, anything can happen. Just making sure that I know that I have the support of Ohio State, Coach Day’s support and everyone’s support. They think I’m doing the right thing by standing up for my people.”
Pryor's future teammate in the Ohio State backfield, fellow 2021 running back commit TreVeyon Henderson, has also been vocal about the societal changes he wants to see in America.
“I support him, and I stand with him,” Henderson told Eleven Warriors. “He’s definitely trying to make a change.”
Evan Pryor photo courtesy of 247Sports