By LARRY VAUGHT
E.J. Price has yet to play in a college football game, but suddenly he’s become an important player for Kentucky.
The former Georgia high school standout originally signed with USC but never played there in 2016 before he said he decided he wanted to transfer. He transferred to Kentucky, sat out last year as a redshirt and then even briefly quit the team during spring practice.
However, Friday’s season-ending knee injury suffered by starting left offensive tackle Landon Young has not only opened an opportunity for Price to play but also created a huge need for him to play well.
“I have an extreme passion for the game. Football has done a tremendous amount of things for me in my life. Just creating friendships, brotherhoods with my coaches … a lot of great things. When I am out there I enjoy it. It is something I am good at. It’s just my passion. When we are out there, a mean streak just kicks in,” Price told me before any news broke about Young’s injury.
“Hopefully I will still smile on the sideline and after the game, but between the lines I am a pretty mean guy.”
Despite his emotional outburst in the spring when he left the team for a few days, he seems happy and content now. He was baptized during the summer at the same time teammate Josh Paschal was — and UK head coach Mark Stoops was there to watch.
“We have a great team, great chemistry. I think it is going to be special. It feels good to be back in action and have an opportunity to compete for a job,” Price said.
Another benefit with Price is that he can play both tackles. If UK goes a different direction at left tackle, he could play right tackle — or back up both spots.
” It just depends on our scheme, our game. I will play guard or center. I am wiling to do whatever it takes for the team,” Price said. “I’m happy to be here and I want to do whatever it takes to win and show that I am serious about helping this team.”