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Price's Words

Mark Saxon from the OC Register had an interesting story on Brian Price yesterday. Price told Saxon he is not going to leave UCLA early even if he has a great junior season:

By the end of this season, Brian Price's name could be familiar to casual college football fans. It almost certainly will be well known among sports agents.

But Price, a defensive tackle widely regarded as UCLA's best player, said he will return for his senior year regardless of how well he does this coming season.

"I'm going to be here," Price said. "I want to graduate, make my mom proud and my dad proud."

Price's size, strength and speed often have made him stand out on UCLA's practice field. He started five games into his freshman season. He dominated at times in his sophomore year, leading the team with 14 tackles for loss.

He was the only Bruin on offense or defense named to the All-Pac-10 first team. After another off-season lifting weights and working on his speed, Price enters his junior year at a lean 295 pounds.

"He's just continuing to develop into what we think is a really explosive player," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Now, we've got to have somebody that can line up and match him so he doesn't disrupt the whole practice."

Pretty dramatic contrast from the comments we have heard from JH during the current basketball season.

Anyway, despite Price's inspiring comments I think we also have to take a pragmatic approach about all this. He is still a kid. If he continues to develop the way he has during this past two years (and is projected as a sure fire first round pick at the end of this season) he will probably have a very difficult decision to make on whether or not he should go pro. I will not be disappointed one bit if he decides to go pro and take care of his family.

However, there is one thing that leads me to take Price's pronouncement a tad bit differently than the usual comments we hear from student athletes in his position. Just think back to the path this young man has taken to Westwood. He had so many opportunities to come out of his committment to being a Bruin as he was being subjected to Pete Carroll's "charm offensive" and also dealing with academic situations that delayed his enrollment to UCLA. Yet he stayed strong and kept his word and honored his commitment to UCLA.

I have a feeling this kid means it when he said he wanted to come here to reestablish the tradition of UCLA football and get back to competing for Pac-10 championships. Since that will likely not happen till 2010-11 season, he just might stick around to make sure the rebuilding process is done. Given his past history Price's words mean a little more to me than the ones from others.