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Tight end Sean Price could become one of top recruits in USF Bulls history

Citra North Marion High’s Sean Price would be one of the Bulls’ top-rated recruits ever.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Citra North Marion High’s Sean Price would be one of the Bulls’ top-rated recruits ever.

Sean Price has caught passes from a quarterback committed to Florida State.

He has sprinted alongside receivers headed to Florida and blocked linebackers pledged to Alabama and LSU.

Price, too, could be headed to one of the college football bluebloods. But the Under Armour All-American wants to blaze his own trail to USF, where the tight end from Citra North Marion could become one of the top recruits in Bulls history.

"I'm not really worried about what everyone else is doing," Price said after an Under Armour practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports this month.

"I'm worried about myself. I'm here for me and not anyone else. If I go to USF, I'm trying to build my own legacy and pick them up, pick USF up to the top ranks."

That's a big if. Price planned to visit Oklahoma and Georgia this month. But if he signs with the Bulls on Feb. 1, he'd be one of USF's biggest recruiting coups.

Rivals calls the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Price the country's No. 158 prospect — 19 spots behind fellow USF commitment D'Vario Montgomery (Winter Park).

Since 2006, only two USF signees had a higher national ranking: Hillsborough High's Terrence Mitchell (No. 89, class of 2010) and Armwood's Ryne Giddins (No. 61, 2009). The Bulls have landed 15 four-star prospects since Rivals began its rankings in 2002.

North Marion coaches knew Price could become an elite player early. He started at the perennial power in ninth grade and helped the Colts advance to the region final.

"You saw things you expect out of seniors when he was a freshman," Colts coach Craig Damon said. "We just knew he had it."

So did USF. Price said the Bulls began recruiting him in ninth grade — even though he thought his future would be on the court. Basketball, not football, was his first love, and he spent summers playing travel basketball on the AAU circuit.

"I always wanted to be a basketball player until I realized post players in college are about 7 feet, and I'm only 6-3," Price said. "I'm not going to make it."

But he could make it in football.

His height was insufficient for the hardwood but ideal for a receiver. The leaping ability he honed fighting for rebounds helped him sky for passes. The soft hands he showed in the post enabled him to snag post patterns.

"He has those big mitten hands, so catching the ball is no problem for him," said wide receiver Latroy Pittman, Price's high school teammate and a Florida commitment.

After his sophomore year, Price dropped basketball to devote himself to football. He bulked up from a 210-pound receiver prospect to a tight end with 20 more pounds of muscle.

"Once he got to 235, everybody started calling," Damon said.

Offers for Rivals' No. 5 tight end came from Alabama, Florida, Miami and others, but Price liked USF's early interest in him and the atmosphere on campus and in the locker room.

"That's where I need to be for four years," Price said.

Price flashed his speed and strength during his senior season. On a team with two other elite recruits, Pittman and USF target running back Jamie Gilmore, Price tied for the team lead with 25 catches and led with 530 yards.

He had six touchdown catches and finished with 3.5 sacks, including a pivotal second-half takedown in a close loss to Pasco in the Class 5A region semifinals.

Price said he thinks he can take that versatility to USF as an H-back who can block, run out of the backfield or open up the middle of the field.

"They said that's the piece they've been missing," Price said. "Well, I'm there."

Star system

If he signs with USF, Sean Price would join these notable four-star Rivals.com recruits who signed with the Bulls:

. QB B.J. Daniels: Threw for 2,585 yards and 13 TDs as a junior last fall.
. DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Was an all-conference player before becoming a star with the Giants who will play in the Feb. 5 Super Bowl.
. DT Elkino Watson: Last year's only four-star recruit was third on the team with nine tackles for a loss as a freshman.
. WR Terrence Mitchell: Caught seven passes and returned 13 punts last fall.
. DE Ryne Giddins: Ranked second in tackles for loss (11) and third in sacks (5.5) as a sophomore.

Tight end Sean Price could become one of top recruits in USF Bulls history 01/23/12 [Last modified: Monday, January 23, 2012 10:02pm]
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