This is the 35th in a series of articles counting down the days until Florida State football kicks off the 2012 season. There are 23 days until FSU football, and that's how many items are left on the list. That means no off days. Oh, and these are not in any specific order.
6'0, 225 | Fullback | Senior
Bio (courtesy: media guide)
Ranked as the nation's 15th best running back according to Rivals.com and was a consensus four-star prospect...the Okeechobee High School standout was awarded Offensive Player of the Year honors by the Palm Beach Post and the Scripps Treasure Coast newspapers...rushed for 2,281 yards and 20 TDs as a senior...participated in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl...earned 4A All-State honors twice after piling up more than 4,000 rushing yards and 40 TDs over his final two seasons...chose FSU after entertaining 17 FBS offers, including Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Boston College and Wake Forest...born February 22, 1990
Pryor is one of the best people on the team. And this is a fun preview to write.
Entering last season, I said:
The ultimate team player, Pryor really does everything well. His blitz pickup is excellent. As a run blocker he excels in open space and holds his own inside. When Florida State hits a long run, you often see Pryor making a block at difficult angle to spring the runner. It is difficult to describe just how good Pryor is. Very few teams have such a dependable pass protector.
He is also a good runner when called upon to do so. Some believe that Pryor should be FSU's primary back, but the coaching staff believes his skillset is better suited for the role of an all-purpose back, here cast as the fullback. But when he gets his chance to carry the ball he does pretty well with it. And Fisher rewarded him in some prime spots, as the lifelong-Nole scored touchdowns against the 'Canes and Gators. He's also a difficult cover for linebackers and exhibits good hands. Most teams will not send their fullback on a wheel route, but FSU does just that with Pryor.
2011 was a bit of a disappointment for Pryor, however. He did not look as athletic as he had in the past. Much of this blame was placed on him bulking up. That might be true, but I also think Pryor was injured (lower body), regardless of what Florida State said officially. The injury wasn't enough to keep him off the field much, but it did limit his performance.
Entering 2012, the mantra is that Pryor has slimmed down some and will have more athleticism. I believe this, but I also think him being healthier should help a lot.
One change in 2012 that Tomahawk Nation's insiders have uncovered if that Pryor will be a much larger factor in the contingency plans at running back, should the back injuries to Chris Thompson and Devonta Freeman flare up, or if James Wilder Jr. still doesn't get it. In fact, we were told that Pryor would have played the meaningful snaps at running back before freshman Mario Pender (who will miss the year with groin surgery), because Pryor has a better understanding of the offense.
Pryor should still be a good blocker, both in the running and passing game. He does not have the great power of a traditional fullback, but he does a nice job of getting in position and using technique. And he has better range than the traditional hulking fullback. FSU doesn't need its fullback to pancake opposing defenders. It needs him to be in the way and cut off the defender. Pryor does that.
One theme for Florida State this season is to avoid sacks and negative plays. Pryor is a major asset in both of these areas. I shudder to think what Florida State's sack rate would have been if Pryor were not on the field, given that EJ Manuel holds the ball far too long as he takes a good bit of time to get through his reads (of course, Manuel does a lot of things very well).
Pryor is an important senior leader for Florida State. He does a lot of important, unheralded things for Florida State's offense. And he will be missed in 2013, more than anyone will write. Here's hoping he has another good year and catches the eye of a few NFL scouts. His game reminds me a good bit of Kevin Faulk, with whom Dolphin fans are surely familiar. His consistency, football IQ and versatility should merit a spot on an NFL roster.