Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. Being as Louisville safety Calvin Pryor was in for a pre draft visit a few weeks ago, now is a good time to post his. Thomas has done these profiles for the NFL for several years and I know that many of you enjoy reading them.
University of Louisville Cardinals
Port St. Joe, Florida
Port St. Joe High School
Do not let Pryor’s age fool you, for hidden inside the Cardinals jersey was a player that had old-time scouts likening him to Buddy Ryan’s “boys” during the Chicago Bears’ march to the Super Bowl. They see the hard-hitting “take no prisoners” approach the junior takes playing inside the box, much like Doug Plank. Others see the deep zone coverage ability and physicality to jar receivers off their routes, similar to the style of play featured by Gary Fencik.
Younger scouts that might have still been in kindergarten when the Bears pair were terrorizing opposing quarterbacks see a player withy the same qualities that has seen New York Giants’ Antrell Rolle enjoy a long career – that instant read-&-react ability, combined with the speed and acceleration to cover ground in an instant, a player who is a smooth mover with the flexibility and suppleness to backpedal and come out of his turns with no wasted motion.
The main reason that Louisville had the nation’s top-rated defense in college football last season was because of Pryor’s “sheriff” like ability patrolling the deep third of the field, while linebacker Preston Brown stuffed the inside run and rush end Marcus Smith wreaked havoc converging on quarterbacks in the backfield.
Pryor enjoyed a great career as the Cardinals’ free safety, a position he claimed for the final six games of his freshman season that he would not relinquish until he made the announcement in early January that he was leaving school to play in the National Football League during the 2014 season.
A native of Port St. Joe, Florida, Pryor attended the local high school where he was a standout at both running back and defensive back. Considered a three-star by Rivals.com, he was rated the 31st-best safety prospect in the nation by that recruiting service. He rushed for 1,500 yards and seventeen touchdowns, adding fifty tackles while picking off six passes during his junior season, earning All-State first-team offensive honors and second-team for his defensive success.
Pryor also recorded six interceptions as a senior, closing out his career with 320 yards rushing vs. Interlachen High, followed by 250 vs. Franklin County, as he reversed the honors from the previous season with first-team All-State on defense and second-team offensive accolades coming his way. He closed out his gridiron career by playing in the North-South All-Star game.
Pryor also excelled in basketball, playing point guard as a junior. He averaged 12.0 points and eight assists as the Tiger Sharks reached the Class 2-A Final Four. The previous season, he had averaged double-figure scoring as a sophomore. He also played baseball for the first time as a senior. He hit nearly .400 and was a catalyst both offensively and defensively in center field, as the Tiger Sharks reached the Region 1 2-A finals.
The Louisville staff wasted little time getting their prized recruit on the football field when Pryor reported for Louisville fall camp in 2011. He played in all thirteen games, starting seven times, including the final six at free safety. He recorded 43 tackles, sixth-best on the team, making three stops behind the line of scrimmage, causing two fumbles, including one on a sack. He also broke up five passes and intercepted two others on the way to earning Freshman All-American honors.
Pryor and Hakeem Smith would form the best safety tandem in college football over the next two years. They gave the Cardinals their own version of “Thunder and Lightning” in the defensive backfield. While Smith finished third on the team with 73 tackles in 2012, Pryor placed second with 100 hits. The free safety led the Big East Conference and ranked sixth in the nation with five forced fumbles, recovering one to set up a Louisville touch-down drive. Both of his interceptions also led to scoring marches by the offense.
The 2012 season would cement Pryor’s status among the country’s elite pass defenders. Opponents completed just 10-of-71 passes targeted into his area (14.08%), as he picked off three passes, deflected four others and prevented his coverage assignments from getting into their routes on 37 other throws. He also produced 75 tackles, second on the team, delivering 5.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
ON December 29th, one day after Louisville defeated Miami in the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl, Pryor announced he was leaving school and filed for the 2014 NFL Draft. The safety had just recorded six tackles in what would be his final collegiate contest. “I have to make the best decision for me and for my family,” Pyror said after the 36-9 win over Miami.
“My experience here in the Ville was truly amazing,” Pryor wrote. “After talking with my coaches and family, I’ve decided to declare for the draft. It’s the best decision for me and my family. Thank you all.”
Pryor started 32-of-38 games at free safety for Louisville, recording 218 tackles (137 solos) with eleven stops for losses of 62 yards, adding two sacks for minus 37 yards … Gained 61 yards via seven interceptions and deflected fourteen other tosses … Recovered five fumbles for 27 yards in returns and caused nine others, a total that ranks sixth among active players in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks.
Pryor earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report and second-team accolades from Athlon Sports … The All-American Athletic Conference first-team choice started all twelve games he appeared in, missing the Memphis contest due to a team rules violation … Finished third on the team with 75 tackles (54 solos) that included 5.5 stops for losses of 15 yards … Advanced a fumble recovery 22 yards and caused two fumbles … Had three interceptions for 26 yards in returns and four pass deflections … His first pass theft for the 2013 campaign was returned 26 yards, as he also caused a fumble and posted eight tackles (7 solos) with a stop-for-loss vs. Eastern Kentucky … Broke up a pair of third down passes and was in on five hits vs. Kentucky … Registered a career-high fourteen tackles (11 solos) with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and an interception that set up a touch-down drive vs. Rutgers … Followed with an eleven-tackle performance while delivering his third interception for the year vs. Central Florida … Posted twelve tackles (8 solos) with a pair of stops-for-loss vs. Cincinnati and closed out his career with six solo tackles in a win over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Named to the Sophomore All-American Team by The NFL Draft Report, Pryor received All-Big East Conference honors during his first season as a full-time starter … The free safety finished second on the team with a career-high 100 tackles, adding a 17-yard sack and 2.5 stops for losses of 23 yards … Advanced a fumble recovery 5 yards and led the league while ranking sixth nationally with five forced fumbles … Intercepted two passes for 10 yards in returns and deflected five other tosses … Opened the season by causing two fumbles and posting nine tackles (7 solos) vs. Kentucky, followed by another nine stops, along with an interception vs. Missouri State … Had his third nine-tackle performance vs. Southern Mississippi, causing a fumble while making a stop behind the line of scrimmage on a third-down snap … Had identical eight-tackle games the next two weeks, vs. South Florida and Pittsburgh … Broke up two passes and picked off another for a 10-yard run-back vs. Cincinnati … Made eight hits vs. Temple and eleven more (7 solos) in the Connecticut clash … Advanced a fumble recovery five yards, as Pryor delivered seven tackles with two pass break-ups vs. Rutgers … Ended the season with six tackles, as he caused a fumble on a sack vs. Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
Pryor appeared in all thirteen games, as the Freshman All-American selection (The NFL Draft Report) started seven contests at free safety, including Louisville’s last six, as he recorded 43 tackles (31 solos) with a 20-yard sack, three stops for losses of 24 yards and five pass deflections … Gained 25 yards on a pair of interceptions, as he caused and recovered a pair of fumbles.
No injuries reported or games missed during his college career, but Pryor could not participate in the shuttle drills at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine due to a right toe injury.
4.58 in the 40-yard dash … 1.58 10-yard dash … 2.66 20-yard dash … 34 ½-inch vertical jump … 9’-8” broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times … 31 3/8-inch arm length … 9 1/8-inch hands … 75 ½-inch wingspan.
Pryor attended Port St. Joe (Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Vern Barth … Competed as a running back and defensive back … Considered a three-star by Rivals.com, he was rated the 31st-best safety prospect in the nation by that recruiting service … Rushed for 1,500 yards and seventeen touchdowns, adding fifty tackles while picking off six passes during his junior season, earning All-State first-team offensive honors and second-team for his defensive success … Also recorded six interceptions as a senior, closing out his career with 320 yards rushing vs. Interlachen High, followed by 250 vs. Franklin County, as he reversed the honors from the previous season with first-team All-State on defense and second-team offensive accolades coming his way … Closed out his gridiron career by playing in the North-South All-Star game … Also excelled in basket-ball, playing point guard as a junior … Averaged 12.0 points and eight assists as the Tiger Sharks reached the Class 2-A Final Four … The previous season, he had averaged double-figure scoring as a sophomore … Also played baseball for the first time as a senior, hitting nearly .400 and was a catalyst both offensively and defensively in center field, as the Tiger Sharks reached the Region 1 2-A finals.
Pryor is a Communications major … Son of Monique Turrell and Calvin Pryor … Born 7/2/1992 in Port St. Joe, Florida.