IOWA CITY, Iowa – A month ago, star defensive back recruit Isaiah Pryor said he eventually wanted to trim his list to 10 schools.
The Georgia native also said he was in no hurry to make a decision and that he probably wouldn’t make a verbal commitment until before his senior year of high school.
Well, you can scratch those plans.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Pryor, who is entering his junior year of high school, committed to defending national champion Ohio State on Monday, much to the dismay of Iowa fans.
The hope was that Pryor’s connection to the Iowa program – he is the son of former Iowa defensive end Richard Pryor and the younger brother of former Hawkeye walk-on offensive lineman Richard Pryor – would make the Hawkeyes a top contender to land him.
Isaiah Pryor told allhawkeyes.com in late June that he still was interested in Iowa, but he declined to say whether the Hawkeyes would make his top-10 list.
Pryor has at least 35 scholarship offers from some of the top programs in the country. He is ranked by Rivals.com as a four-star prospect and 57th nationally in the 2017 class.
Pryor is the second star recruit to pick Ohio State in the past year despite having a family connection to Iowa. Linebacker Justin Hilliard signed with the Buckeyes in February and will be a freshman at Ohio State this fall. Justin Hilliard is the younger brother of Iowa redshirt freshman running back C.J. Hilliard, who didn’t have a scholarship offer from Ohio State coming out of high school.
Losing Pryor now shifts the attention to another Hawkeye legacy recruit – four-star defensive end A.J. Epenesa from Edwardsville, Ill. He also is ranked among the top prospects in the 2017 class and is the son of former Iowa defensive lineman Epenesa Epenesa.
The 6-5, 230-pound A.J. Epenesa is ranked by Rivals.com as the top prospect in his class in Illinois and the 23rd best recruit nationally. He has nearly 20 scholarship offers from schools that include Iowa, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oklahoma Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Iowa currently has two players committed to its 2017 class, both of whom are from in state. Defensive end Coy Kirkpatrick, who is from Madrid, committed to Iowa on June 9th, while four-star defensive tackle Juan Harris, who attends North Fayette High School, committed to Iowa for the third time on June 25th after twice de-committing.