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Hawkeye football offers scholarship to son of former player

[ 0 ] June 10, 2014 |

Richard Pryor grew up in New Jersey and now lives in Georgia, but the license plate on his car tells where his loyalty lies.

“He’s got a big (Iowa Hawkeye) license plate on the front of his car,” said Andy Dyer, head football coach at Archer High School in Lawrenceville, Ga.

Pryor also has a 16-year old son named Isaiah Pryor, who last Wednesday picked up his first scholarship offer for football. The fact that it came from the University of Iowa, where his father played defensive end under Hayden Fry from 1984-88, made the milestone moment more special.

“We were overwhelmed,” Richard Pryor said Tuesday. “He worked so hard for something he wanted and to get it this early, it meant a lot to him and to us as a family.”

Isaiah Pryor is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound defensive back, who will be a sophomore at Archer High School this fall.

Richard Pryor has four sons, including Richard Pryor Jr., who was a walk-on offensive lineman at Iowa last season and is still enrolled at the university.

“We’ve been going there for years and Coach Ferentz has always treated my kids like family,” Richard Pryor said of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “So we’re comfortable around the university and with participating in the campus life. It means a lot to us.”

Pryor Sr., who is originally from Elizabeth, N.J., has stayed connected to his college alma mater partly by making annual visits to Iowa City in which he reunites with some of his former Hawkeye teammates to play golf and to reminisce. His sons have accompanied him on many of the trips and seen the football program up close.

“We’ve been going there since coach Fry retired with the kids,” Pryor said.

Despite his bias towards Iowa, Richard Pryor said he won’t try to force Isaiah to follow in his footsteps. Richard Pryor, a former USA Today all-American in 1983, picked Iowa over Nebraska and Notre Dame.

“It’s important to me that he goes to a school for him and not my legacy or whatever I’ve done,” Richard Pryor said. “He’s the one that has to go to school for four years. He has to feel comfortable with his coaches.

“That’s why it was kind of good that Iowa offered because he knows the staff and he’s been going there for years, so he is comfortable there.”

Isaiah Pryor has since picked up another scholarship offer from Oklahoma after camping there over the weekend. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops played defensive back at Iowa from 1979-82 and was a graduate assistant during some of Richard Pryor’s time as a Hawkeye.

Isaiah Pryor is one of two legacy recruits from the 2017 class to be offered a scholarship by Iowa at the end of their freshman year.

A.J. Epenesa, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound defensive end from Edwardsville, Ill., also recently received an Iowa offer according to several recruiting websites. He is the son of former Iowa defensive lineman Epenesa Epenesa, who lettered as a Hawkeye in 1997.

Isaiah Pryor was offered by Iowa after participating in a Hawkeye skills camp last week.

“They got him in camp and wanted to pull the trigger,” coach Dyer said. “He’s a young kid that’s physically mature and just has very good skillset. He has a high ceiling. He’s going to continue to get better and better, obviously, as he gets older. He’s just a very skilled football player.”

Dyer hasn’t spoken to Isaiah Pryor about where Iowa stands in his recruitment since Isaiah was offered a scholarship. But Dyer figures that Richard Pryor’s connection to Iowa will have a positive influence.

“We haven’t talked about it, but I’m sure it does,” Dyer said. “There is always a pride thing there when it’s your family. It’s a neat deal for them.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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