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.
Progress for Pryor’s cause
Last week, Ohio State commit Evan Pryor, a running back at William Amos Hough (N.C.) High School, used his voice to advocate for social change at his school, saying he is willing to sit out his senior season if progress is not made at Hough regarding social issues.
This came after fellow Hough students made racist posts on social media, and Pryor and teammate Curtis Neal took action by declaring they would each sit out this upcoming season if progress was not made – similar to the actions that recent college football players such as Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard and Texas’ DeMarvion Overshown have taken.
Last Thursday, Pryor appeared on The Charlotte Observer’s show Talking Preps to discuss the situation, saying that he wants “to see changes through (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) or maybe throughout the state” and that he will “do what I have to do because at some point it has to end.”
There appears to be progress being made, as the rising senior quote-tweeted a statement from Hough on Tuesday that looks optimistic in terms of the school making steps toward social change:
Pryor then followed up on Wednesday with a tweet of his own in which he said “encouraging” progress was made at Hough:
Zoom meeting today with Hough Administration was encouraging! Violation of Rule 8 in the Student Code of Conduct will no longer be tolerated at Hough High! #Progress #HoughFamily @HoughHighNews @HoughAthletics— Evan Pryor (@evanpryor3) July 1, 2020
Rule 8 of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' Code of Student Conduct (on page 12) is a rule in place to protect students against bullying/cyberbulling, profanity, obscenity and/or derogatory language and to punish students who violate those protections. That includes, among many other things, protection against bullying and/or harassment because of one's race.
The rule states, in part:
This rule applies to cursing, possessing, sending, or receiving written materials or electronic text and/or images that convey an offensive, racial, derogatory, bullying or obscene message to another person. This includes but is not limited to references to race, color, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, physical or sensory disability, physical appearance, or making offensive statements or gestures. ... In addition, as with other disciplinary violations, any manner of bullying that occurs off campus may violate the Code of Student Conduct if it has a direct and immediate impact to the orderly and efficient operation of the school or the safety of individuals in the school environment.
On that same episode of Talking Preps, Pryor told The Charlotte Observer he plans to “keep on using my voice to reach out to different groups – not just talking to the African-American community, but also I’m a guy who has many different friends, whether it’s Hispanic or white, just making sure it’s all good on all ends. Whether that’s spreading it out through people I haven’t talked to much, just making sure we’re all part of the same understanding so this won’t happen again.”
We stand together https://t.co/f3vwXmjh7e— Evan Pryor (@evanpryor3) July 1, 2020
Pryor fully supported at Ohio State
In that same interview, Pryor said he has the full support of Ohio State’s coaching staff, including from both Ryan Day and Tony Alford.
“Obviously, his situation is a lot different than mine, but seeing what he’s doing in his community and the impact that he’s making on others I think is huge,” McCord told Eleven Warriors. “I think for Evan, being 17 years old, to go out and make a change like that with his high school’s head board speaks a lot to Evan as a person. Obviously, he’s a great player, and he’s gonna be a dude at Ohio State. But for him to go off on a limb there and make change within his own community, I think is a prime example of why he’s such a great kid on and off the field.”
“I support him, and I stand with him,” Henderson told Eleven Warriors last week. “He’s definitely trying to make a change.”
Using their platform
The tight bond among the players in Ohio State’s 2021 class is well-documented, and that’s become more evident over the past few months.
Eleven Warriors asked McCord whether the commits in their class talk about using their platform and voice as a collective group to make changes or if it’s something that they each do individually. McCord said he thinks it’s “a little bit of both.”
“We definitely talk about things going on in the world,” McCord added. “I think that’s something that’s new and something that you can’t hide from. That’s something that we, as commits, talk about amongst each other, but I think there’s a lot of guys who are going off on their own and doing great things with their social media accounts and their platforms. It’s definitely been an eye-opening thing the past couple of months, but I’m definitely proud of the commits and the way that we’ve handled it.”
Pryor, Henderson and Tunmise Adeleye have been some of the most vocal Ohio State commits in this class who are using their platforms to advocate for social change.
“I think for Evan, being 17 years old, to go out and make a change like that with his high school’s head board speaks a lot to Evan as a person.”– ohio state qb commit Kyle McCord on future teammate evan pryor's protest for social change
When asked to speak about the importance for him and his fellow commits to use their platforms, McCord said that using his voice is something he plans to do more going forward, as he has been learning more about the impact he can have.
“Being a 17-year-old kid with a pretty large following is something that’s uncommon,” McCord said. “With that being said, I think it’s almost a responsibility of mine to use that platform to connect with and impact others. You see a lot of kids that are already committed that are doing that. I think that’s a reflection of the kids Ohio State recruits. They recruit, first and foremost, great guys on and off the field. I think we’re seeing more so the off the field aspect of that.
“I think it’s something that’s new and something that’s evolving as we speak. Like you said, whether it’s on Twitter, Instagram or wherever, using my platform is something that I didn’t really know too much about four or five months ago. With the changing events and everything going on in the world, I think it’s huge for me to use my platform to speak.”
While down at the Elite 11 Finals in Nashville, he said that it was “really eye opening just to see the quarterback position is so much bigger than throwing a ball and taking a drop. There’s a lot of stuff off the field that I think has (impact).”
“A kid going to a school such as Ohio State, I think I still have to do a lot more than just play football,” McCord added. “I have to make an impact on others. Whether it’s over social media or in person – even if it’s a little harder because of corona – whatever it may be, I think there’s so much more I can do off the field and use my voice on social media, especially nowadays with everything going on in the world.
“The coaches hit on it every single day about how impactful we can be as 17- and 18-year-old kids with the platform that we have. That was one thing that I definitely didn’t realize going down there on Monday but then came back from Nashville with a change of perspective on things.”
Evan Pryor photo: Cory Fravel/247Sports