Up Close: Kenny Price, Part II

<I>IC</I>'s Andy Britt is touring the countryside to visit each and every UNC football commitment. Look for his unique two-part profiles all season long. Today -- the second installment from Virginia Beach on lineman Kenny Price.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The North Carolina coaching staff has told Kenny Price he will most likely be utilized as defensive tackle for the Tar Heels. Price was 6-6 and 280 pounds on Monday, but he if very familiar with the 300-pound mark and fully expects to be there before the 2003 season starts.

Last May at a combine in Ocean Lakes, Va., Price benched 405 pounds, recorded a 32-inch vertical leap and was clocked at 4.75 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

In Price, Kempsville had a huge tackle that could move, and he was joined by two other Division I linemen on the offensive front. The Chiefs averaged 339 yards per game – a Beach District of Tidewater record -- en route to their 2002 conference title.

"With those three, we could run the ball right at people on that side of the football," Kempsville head coach Jeff Beard said. "Nobody ever, ever stopped us."

It is no wonder why UNC assistant coach Kenny Browning told Beard that Price could potentially earn playing time as a backup or even starter on the UNC defensive front as a freshman, and that's taking into consideration the chance of a mammoth commitment from Winston-Salem Carver tackle Isaiah "Puff" Thomas.

Browning and Beard have known each other for years. Their friendship is a big reason the Tar Heels have recruited so well in Virginia, and especially in the Tidewater area from which three of UNC's soon-to-be signees hail.

While a high school assistant in Chesapeake, Va., Beard coached Deon Dyer at Deep Creek and ‘Dre Bly while at Western Branch.

As the early 2003 verbal commitments rolled in, many wondered just when Carolina would start filling needs in the trenches. Other than Terry Hunter, Marcus Hands and Scott Lenahan, the future Carolina components seemed to be coming from every position group but the earth moving equipment that wins championships and determines whether or not a team can run or stop the run.

That is why Browning told Price to be focused when he gets to Chapel Hill.

Price has known that he wanted to go to school at Carolina for months.

"If they offered I would accept," Price told IC back on Oct. 10.

He kept waiting for Browning to extend the offer, which he finally did on Jan. 20. Qualifying scholastically may have been a concern early on for the UNC coaching staff.

"I've been on Cloud Nine since I committed down there," Price said. "I've been looking at the other guys going down there from the Beach, and I'm real excited. They have a great staff and they want to win. It's pretty near home.

"Coach Bunting is a lot like my Coach Beard," he said. "Browning is a nice guy; I like him a lot. He's nice and real straight with you."

Academics notwithstanding – and Price still has a little work to do in that department – he is as physically imposing as any of the Tar Heels' much-ballyhooed recruiting class.

"[Browning told me to expect] lots of hard work, watching film and studying, because academics are very important to me," Price said. "There will be a lot of tutoring sessions, so it's going to be a lot hard work -- on and off the field."

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