Up Close: Kenny Price

<I>Inside Carolina</i>'s Andy Britt is touring the countryside to visit each UNC football commitment. Look for his unique, on-location two-part profiles all year long. Today, he reports from Virginia Beach, Va. on lineman Kenny Price.

VA. BEACH, Va. – A four-year starter at Kempsville High School, North Carolina football commitment Kenny Price suffered through tough rebuilding years at the prep level. The hard work paid off, and the Chiefs were rewarded with a conference title during his senior season.

Price said he looks forward to reaping the same type of return with the Tar Heels, as they seek to reacquaint themselves with national prominence.

But struggling through a reconstructive football campaign is not the only difficult thing that Price has had to deal with while in high school.

"It hasn't been smooth sailing at all," Price said. "There have been a lot of ups and downs during my four years here."

After his parents separated during his junior year, Price was forced into making the toughest decision he had ever known.

His family was in need of financial help, and at the time, his getting a job seemed like a better option than continuing his education.

Price credits fellow players and coaches with aiding him in his decision to stay in school. The number of people that sincerely care about his future has overwhelmed him.

"I wanted to quit school for a little while and go to work," Price said. "Then [the coaches] pulled me back in. They always stayed on me, trying to tell me what I should do. My friends would give me money; they helped me out in that situation."

Price didn't quit, and he is thrilled with that decision today. He was at one of life's so-called crossroads during his junior year, and "I could have gone either way," Price said.

Kempsville administrators have set aside a half-day to celebrate the faxing of Price's national letter of intent to Carolina this Wednesday morning.

"[UNC] has projected him as a starter or possibly a No. 2 coming in, because they have some needs there," Kempsville head coach Jeff Beard said. "I think that's what made his mind up as far as whether he would go to Clemson or Carolina – the fact that he could get on the field quick."

Price is currently tipping the scales at 280 pounds, yet his playing weight is around 300.

"He has gotten his weight down," Beard said. "We've been concentrating on his academics. Our next lifting day is Tuesday, and from then on, he'll be back in the weight room and he'll add his normal 20 pounds back.

"He will be at 300 pounds before he gets to [UNC]."

Lately, Price has had to put all emphasis on his classroom performance. Needing to finish the semester with all B's and C's, Price is no lock to qualify; and an entrance into Hargrave Military Academy is pending if he does not. Price hasn't achieved his score on the SAT yet either, although he is anxiously awaiting the results of a test he took just last week.

However, his coach expects him to be ready to attend school this fall in Chapel Hill.

"We feel like if he continues to work this semester like he did last semester, then he will qualify," Beard said. "We've discussed that with the people at Carolina. We've got a Plan B -- Hargrave or Fork Union -- one of the two. He's really close; he needs two B's and two C's to qualify. He's scheduled to take the SAT all the way through, and also the ACT from here on out – and we've got a test coming from last Saturday that we haven't heard back on yet."

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow…

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