Nov. 2, 1999
LOS ANGELES - Durell Price was watching a Dallas Cowboys game one afternoon when he got an idea.
If people in the stands could yell out, "D.P." at UCLA football games, just like Cowboys fans salute Daryl "Moose" Johnston with a "Mooooose!" every time he has the ball, Price would really be fired up.
"I'm a die-hard Bruins fan," Price says. "I'm going to do whatever it takes for us to be successful. But if every time I carry the ball they (people in the stands) could yell out, 'D.P.!!,' really loud, that would be awesome."
What is perhaps even more awesome is the fact that the 6-0 fullback from Sylmar is even playing here at UCLA. Out of high school, the highly touted Price had given Ohio State an oral commitment. Although he had doubts about attending a school so far away from his family, he reluctantly signed the letter of intent and headed to a local drug store to have it faxed to Ohio State. Price was on his way to Columbus, even if his heart wasn't there.
But that's when fate stepped in.
Turns out the employee faxed the document - only it was wrong side up. About an hour after Price had the fax sent, someone from Ohio State's football office called and asked him to resend the papers. But by then it was too late. Price had changed his mind and opted for UCLA instead.
That decision, Price does not regret. The Bruin football program can thank Price's family for helping him make the choice.
"The fact that my family can come and see me makes me know I made the right decision. It's unbelievable just being able to look up into the stands and see my mom and my dad and the rest of my family."
Playing at UCLA allows Price to have the best of both worlds.
"Football and family are my two main things," Price adds. "If I'm not with my family, I'm with football and vice versa."
Price admits, though, that his four years of playing at UCLA haven't always been easy. As a senior tailback at Sylmar High, Price ran for 1,666 yards and scored 36 touchdowns, but when he came to Westwood, his role on the team was not so easily defined. After a year of playing at tailback, Price was forced to make a decision-either switch to the fullback position or remain a tailback and not play. Price decided to make the change.
"It was hard because when I came out of high school I had told everyone who was recruiting me that I was a tailback and I had no intention of playing fullback whatsoever," Price recalls. "But as I got here and started to see how things worked and as my body became more mature, I realized I fit the fullback role. I had to make a choice either to play third string tailback or start at fullback. I wanted to be on the field, so that's why I made my choice.
The change seems to have paid off. Last season, Price earned a starting role on the squad, ranking sixth on the team with 14 receptions for 122 yards. At the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin, he made three receptions, including a 61-yard touchdown, all producing first downs. This year, Price has started in three of seven games.
With two games remaining after today's game, including the Nov. 13 home date vs. Washington, Price is looking to end his senior year on a high note.
"People remember you for the last thing you do," Price says. "That's something that's always embedded in my mind. I look at myself as a captain. This is my team. The years in the past, I was just a piece of the puzzle, but now I'm putting the puzzle together. I just want to go out on top."
And when he does go out, hopefully it will be with the shouts, "D.P.!!," ringing in his ears.
By Colette Jue
UCLA Media Relations Intern