Isaiah Pryor

Tim May
tmay@dispatch.com
Ohio State safety Isaiah Pryor [Joshua A. Bickel]

Isaiah Pryor still hasn’t locked down the starting spot at Ohio State opposite safety Jordan Fuller, but even with Shaun Wade closing in fast, Pryor is getting closer.

There was no denying the high-level play the sophomore made last week in the fourth quarter against Minnesota. He raced from a starting spot near the left hash all the way across the field to the right corner of the end zone to grab his first interception.

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For a moment, at least, criticism of Pryor ebbed. And getting ready to face Purdue on Saturday night, he was working to hold his own.

“He lined up and is working with the (starters) this week,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said early in the preparations. “But we evaluate that as we go, as we did during the game. There’s not any strongholds on anything. You play who you think gives you the best chance to win. That will always be the case.”

Though Jahsen Wint and perhaps freshman Josh Proctor are among those under consideration, it appears Wade has emerged as Pryor’s chief competitor. Though originally the nickel back, Wade has shown the instincts and quickness to earn a more serious look at safety.

“I don’t know when he switched to safety, but he’s learning so fast,” Fuller said of Wade. “He’s a natural, he’s one of the best athletes on the team.”

But Fuller, who had to grow into a consistent player at his position last season, also has been an advocate for Pryor. That’s even as criticism of him taking bad angles to breakout runs and not being enough of a factor against the pass mounted. Then came that play last week when Pryor read the quarterback’s eyes and reacted to make it over not only to be part of the play, but to take the ball away.

“I was trying to tell y’all he’s real talented, he just needs to put it all together,” Fuller said. “And you can see it happening.”

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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