Many Plans Change for Prince

Kevin Prince has had a whirlwind year. He suffered and recovered from an ACL injury, missed his senior season as Encino Crespi's quarterback, committed to Washington -- then de-committed and committed to UCLA -- and now maybe he might not be greyshirting but coming to UCLA this fall...

Kevin Prince, the senior Encino (Calif.) Crespi quarterback who signed a National Letter of Intent to UCLA, was at the fateful UCLA spring practice a few weeks back, where Pat Cowan and Ben Olson were injured on consecutive plays.

Prince, who missed his senior with a torn ACL, surely could empathize with the two UCLA senior quarterbacks.

"As soon as it happened, I definitely was empathizing with them, and they're on a higher level than I was, so it definitely was worse," said Prince.

Little did Prince know, however, that the injuries to the two frontrunners for the UCLA quarterback spot would greatly impact his immediate future. Prince was set to greyshirt and come to UCLA in January of 2009, but he said,"That Saturday, Coach (Norm) Chow and Coach (Rick) Neuheisel talked about me coming in earlier. I sort of thought about it after they got hurt, but it wasn't until they said anything to me that I thought it could definitely happen."

With Cowan being out for the upcoming season, combined with Olson's fragile state and inexperienced depth after those the two frontrunners, the coaching staff didn't want to take any more chances and broached the idea with Prince about him enrolling with the rest of his recruiting class in August.

"I've already made my decision to come in August, that's what I want to do," said Prince. "But I guess it's up to them (UCLA) now. They're just trying to make sure they have the scholarship space. They've offered a JC lineman (Donovan Edwards) and they're checking out the walk-on situation. In my mind, though, I'm working as if I'm coming in August." It's been a whirlwind for Prince since last August, going from being worried about the fate of his college career, to getting a chance to play in college as a freshman.

"When I tore my ACL on that play (in Crespi's season opener), I didn't think I'd be able to play in college (the first year). So I was kind of doing my own thing, getting ready to come in January. But now I have the possibility of going in early. It's been pretty crazy but I'm really happy and grateful for the opportunity," said Prince.

The rehab on the knee is going better than Prince expected. He said: "My knee is feeling really good and I've been cleared by physical therapy. Now I'm doing training three times a week, getting some receivers out there from my school like Joe Fauria and going out to Thousand Oaks with some guys, and I'm throwing. I'm trying to get a feel for timing and I'm taking any receivers I can get my hands on. It's just been nice to get back out and throw," said Prince.

Prince was a frequent visitor to UCLA's spring practices and kept a close eye on Chow and Neuheisel during the spring. It was the arrival of those two in Westwood that caused Prince to change his commitment to Washington into a signed NLI to UCLA.

"There is nothing like it (the coaching staff) in college football," said Prince. "That's why I'm here. I see them taking the program to a different level and I couldn't be more excited. I have the opportunity to come in and play for two great coaches."

Prince and fellow quarterback signee Nick Crissman hit it off during the spring, when they would see each other at practices. "There were a lot of times that Nick and I were the only commits there, so we talked a lot and joked around. It was great talking to him. We would focus on the quarterbacks and they would let us look at the play sheet. A lot of times, we were sitting there trying to figure out the terminology. But it's not too difficult," said Prince.

Early on in his recruitment, Prince said he was planning to take an LDS mission out of high school. When UCLA's previous staff offered him a scholarship last summer it was with the caveat that he take his mission and enroll at UCLA in 2010. But so much has changed since then. There was the injury to his knee, the firing of Karl Dorrell, plus the decision to de-commit from Washington, which changed everything.

"My mission is on the backburner for now," said Prince. "It's something I'll be able to do when I'm older."

In the meantime, Prince is just waiting for the final word from UCLA on when he'll enroll. And having missed his senior year, he can't wait to get back out on the field, now representing the school he was a ball-boy for as a child.

Prince said, "That's definitely something I want to do, be out there for the opener (against Tennessee) and be a part of it. It will be real special. The work has already started and I've missed the grind. I'm going to a trainer, I'm going to school and lifting. I can't wait to get back out there again."

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