The third commit of the 2013 class, Austintown Fitch lineman Billy Price is heading into his senior season, heralded as one of the best lineman in the country. At 6’4″ and 305 pounds, future Buckeye opponents are already feeling the wrath of the future defensive tackle.
The Youngstown Ohio native has the intangibles and athletic ability to become a standout. At a position that Urban Meyer has made clear is imperative to the success of this program.
Price will join Se’von Pittman, Tommy Schutt, Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington, as well as fellow ’13 defensive lineman Joey Bosa, Tracy Sprinkle, and Michael Hill as arguably the best future defensive line in the country.
We had a chance to catch up with Price earlier this week to talk about his aspirations to be a Buckeye, the toughness of Ohio High School football, and his goals heading into his senior season as an Austintown Fitch Falcon.
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Empire: You’ve been quoted as saying that playing for the Scarlet and Gray is a dream come true. Walk us through that process. As an Ohio kid, when did the dream of playing in the horse shoe begin and how did it develop into a commitment to Ohio State?
Price: The dream of playing for the Scarlet and Gray first came to me when i was in about 8th grade watching Johnny Simon tear things up on the dline when he was only a freshman in college. I told myself – ‘I want to be that guy,’ and play in an atmosphere like that.
As my high school career began to develop, my coaches kept pushing me to be the best I possibly could be. My sophomore year, I went to a Nike football training camp at Ohio State and did well enough to get the attention of Coach Jim Tressel. He offered me a scholarship in his office that day and I became one step closer to my dream.
BE: Take us through the process, beyond the aspirations to be a Buckeye, what set this university and coaching staff apart from the other schools?
BP: What made Ohio State special to me was how I felt when I was with the coaches one on one. When I went down for an unofficial visit to get a better look at the university, the coaching staff took me around the Ohio State campus, to get a look at what really isn’t seen during the football season.
The family oriented staff made me feel the most comfortable. It felt like a place where I was wanted and I knew I could make an impact for the team.
BE: One thing that Buckeye fans know is that Ohio High School football gets athletes ready for the next level. Your junior season at Austintown -Fitch was a rather challenging one schedule wise. How does that prepare you for the next level?
BP: As far as the schedule and level of difficulty we at Austintown Fitch play; it’s unmatched. We’re playing playoff teams week in and week out. The caliber of players we play don’t take things lightly. The federal league is one of the biggest and toughest leagues in the state of Ohio.
I played against Steve Miller and Se’von Pittman my sophomore year when I was starting at left tackle. Let me tell you, Steve Miller is a monster. That’s when I knew football at Fitch and playing the Federal League teams was no joke.
BE: Week 5 against GlenOak – How hard is it to bring down Brionte Dunn?
BP: I personally never got a chance to hit Brionte, but my teammates say he’s a hoss!
BE: Coach Phil Annarella has been around for 31 seasons as the head coach of the Falcons. What’s it like playing for someone with so much experience, and What is some advice he’s given you heading into your senior year?
BP: Playing for Coach Annarella is an awesome time. He’s old school when it comes to things and thats what you need sometimes. Football is a tough game and he’s a tough coach that expects the best from each one of his players.
As far as advice from him specifically, he helped me out with the college process, telling me ‘this person is just tooting your horn,’ or this person is actually sincere. When it came to Ohio State, Coach Annarella was very comfortable when he spoke to Coach Meyer and Coach Warnier. He knew I would be in a good spot and that they would push me just as he pushes me.
BE: Speaking of coaches, you’ll get a chance to play under former NFL stud Mike Vrabel at Ohio State. How have you two connected? I imagine it’s thrilling to thinking about having such a skilled player teach you the tricks of the trade in the future. How much did his presence play a factor in you ultimately deciding on Ohio State?
BP: Coach Vrabel is an awesome guy. When you talk to him, it feels like you’ve known the guy your whole life. He and I connected immediately. He was a track thrower in high school as am I. That helped conversations to flow nicely with him. He’s an excellent teacher and O look forward to tearing things up with him!
BE: Heading into your senior season, what are some personal goals you have set for you last year as a Falcon?
BP: As I enter my last year as a Fitch Falcon, I want to make sure the team and i give everything we have each and every game. We want to make the playoffs this year but with our schedule it will be difficult. But without a doubt, it’s manageable. Especially if we play to our abilities.
I personally would love to make 1st team All-State and 1st team All-NEO as I did last year.
BE: What is a part of your game that you’d like to improve on?
BP: As a student of the game, there are always things you can work on to improve. As far as on the defensive line, I need to improve my initial hand moves to shed defenders quicker. On offense, I need to work on my kick slide to improve my pass blocking abilities.
BE: Since you’re from Youngstown, I hear everyone is always comparing you to John Simon. What former Buckeye or NFL Player would you compare your game to?
BP: I honestly couldn’t tell you who I think I’m like. I work hard in the weight room like John Simon and my motor never stops in that aspect, but as far as on the playing field, I couldn’t tell you.
BE: Which Buckeye was your biggest Idol growing up?
BP: I’m a John Simon fan. The kid plays with a motor like no other – with relentless pursuit to get to the ball carrier. His father was actually my youth football coach in 6th grade.
BE: Finally, Since your now a Buckeye. You don’t have any Maize or Blue in your wardrobe, do you?
BP: Absolutely not. I don’t own anything in those colors.