Everywhere he’s played, be it Austintown Fitch or Ohio State, soon-to-be NFL draft pick Billy Price has made a big impression.
“Probably when he was in ninth grade. He was so big and so athletic. I said, ‘Wow,'” said Austintown Fitch Head Football Coach Phil Annarella.
Opposing teams had a similarly high opinion as Price progressed through his high school career with the Falcons. Following his senior campaign, he was named Ohio Defensive Player of the Year.
But it was on the offensive line where Price made his mark at Ohio State. It’s a change that helped his journey to the pro ranks take a serious step.
Price capped off his Buckeye career as a First-Team All-American. He also won the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s top center.
“For me, I think it’s a matter of grit and being tough from this area,” Price said. “Nothing is given to you, whether it’s Friday nights and you’re playing Fitch-Harding games — those games are tough and very physical.”
He said that resolve is also something he developed in college.
“You understand how to work hard. You understand that discipline that you have to have in order to be successful, so I think it translates very well.”
Annarella sees similarities between Price and the late Korey Stringer, another of the top players to ever come from the area.
“I coached Korey Stringer in Warren. It was almost the same parallel. You just saw that special something there, the work ethic,” Annarella said.
Price has spent the last several weeks traveling across the country, visiting with nine NFL teams, priding himself on the versatility and experience to play anywhere up front.
“I can be a long-term player, and somebody who is impacting their franchise, and impacting their offensive line room and exceeding that expectation for myself,” Price said. “It’s a fun opportunity and it’s something that you can’t take lightly.”
Price is projected to be drafted in the first or second round.
“Whoever drafts him, they’re gonna be very pleased with him after they get him there and get him involved in their program,” Annarella said. “He’s just got that leadership ability. That uncanny knack that it takes to be so special in the NFL. Billy’s gonna make it and he’s gonna make it big.”