For more on Brian Price and UCLA Pro Day 2010, click here.
As the 2010 NFL Draft approaches, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy have been dominating the defensive linemen discussion—and for good reason—but UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price is not far from creeping into that conversation.
On Jan. 6, 2010, Price officially decided to forgo his senior season in Westwood after leading the Pac-10 and ranking third nationally with 23.5 tackles for a loss during the 2009 campaign. In doing so, he set a single-season record for a Bruin defensive tackle and is now second in school history for any defenseman in that category.
“Teachers used to ask me, ‘What do you want to be in life?’ Most kids would say ‘doctor’ or ‘lawyer,’” Price recounted at UCLA's Pro Day on Tuesday. “But I would say, ‘I want to be in the NFL.’”
It was always a dream of his, even before the pride of Crenshaw High School began playing organized football. However, Price had bigger issues on his hands than an offensive lineman attempting to keep him from tackling the opposing quarterback.
Violence viciously threatened Price’s upbringing, as evidenced by the gang-related deaths of his two older brothers. Accordingly, he became exponentially irritated with the South Central Los Angeles culture.
“I was always angry,” Price said. “I just held it inside.”
Over the years Price learned to convert that negative energy into position results, beginning with back-to-back Coliseum League Defensive MVP honors in 2005 and 2006 and culminating with the 2009 Pac-10 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award.
“Anger is a gift,” he said with a smirk. “I just lay it all out on the field.”
Price claims he has “never been a violent kid,” but the way Price talks about football, you would think otherwise.
“Kill or be killed” is how he describes battling in the pigskin trenches. “It’s a war out there.”
But the more you talk to him, the more you realize that his brothers’ deaths simply put life in perspective for him—that he understands how fortunate he is to be scouted by NFL teams instead of being swallowed up by the streets.
“It can all be taken away in the drop of a dime,” Price said. “I’m just blessed with the opportunity [to play football], and I thank god every day for it.”
It is an opportunity that kids all across the nation—let alone those born and raised in poverty-stricken, violence-laden neighborhoods—seldom get to experience.
It is an opportunity that Price has resiliently relished.
“I always like when people doubt me,” he said. “I like proving people wrong.”
On April 22, Price will likely become the first UCLA defensive lineman to be drafted in the opening round since Manu Tuiasosopo was taken with the 18th overall pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 1979.
But for Brian Price, it’s not just about making it to the NFL.
It’s about making a name for himself.
Declared Price: “I want to be the best that ever did it.”
For questions and comments, contact Josh Hoffman at JHoffMedia@gmail.com.