Freshman CB Price may challenge for a starting spot

Freshman Jordan Price catches some air during a drill Thursday during the Colorado Mesa football practice. Price was a late signee, coming to the Mavs after finding out he couldn’t get into Division I Missouri.

Jordan Price’s new teammates saw him play for the first time Thursday and quickly came up with his nickname.

Price, now known as “Texas” to his Colorado Mesa University teammates, impressed them with his speed and agility on the first day of football practice at Bergman Field.

“He’s obviously talented and has a lot of upside,” senior linebacker Jake Bruno said. “We’ll see once he learns our scheme, where he fits in, but things look pretty positive for him so far. He’s a nice kid, too.”

The Texas Class 4A all-district cornerback from Fort Worth showed off his speed — a 4.3 second 40-yard dash — making him a threat to challenge for a starting position as a freshman.

“He’s a guy that’s good enough to be a Division I kid,” Mesa coach Joe Ramunno said. “He fell into our laps. Coach (Bill) Stafford did a great job of getting him here. We’re honored to have him. This game boils down to a few things and you’ve got to have great speed.”

Ramunno usually prefers to redshirt freshmen to get them acclimated not only to college football but college in general. He said Price, along with the other freshmen, will get an opportunity to earn a spot on the active squad.

“That’s the beautiful thing about this,” Ramunno said. “If they’re good enough to be that guy, they’re going to do it.

“It’s tough for a freshman to do it. We’re not so complicated now they’re not going to do it. It makes the veterans step up their game.”

Mesa opens the season at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 against Humboldt State (Calif.) University at Stocker Stadium.

Price was a late addition to the Mavericks when his SAT score caused the University of Missouri to rescind a full-ride scholarship. He met all of the academic requirements for admission to CMU a couple of weeks ago.

A recruiting service scout helped Price find his way to Grand Junction.

“I was on a search. Luckily, CMU helped me, brought me in and I came up to visit the campus,” he said.

He found out two months ago his test scores weren’t high enough to get into Missouri. The Division I university required him to take both the ACT and SAT exams. He said his ACT score was good, but his SAT score wasn’t high enough.

“I’m not going to lie, I was real down,” Price said. “There were a couple times I doubted myself and thought I’d just be going to school (and not play football), but I really wanted to play football, so I kept looking around.

“A guy called me and said there is a school in Colorado that wants you to visit. I came as soon as I could and signed the papers.”

Price had never heard of Mesa, even before the name change Wednesday, but was open to checking it out for the chance to play football and get a college education.

“It’s hard to think of a small school in Colorado, but as soon as I stepped on campus, I loved it,” Price said. “Everything was nice, a real clean environment. I talked to Coach Stafford. He was real cool and showed me around campus with Domonique Lewis.”

Ramunno and his staff were excited about more than Price on the first day.

“We’re excited,” Ramunno said. “We’re due and we know. It’s put up (time). There’s not a lot of talking. Everybody’s got a great attitude and it’s spilling over.”

Senior linebacker Chad Benkelman echoed those thoughts.

“There is a lot of energy, excitement flowing around and having fun,” Benkelman said. “I think everyone is excited about the changes that happened since last season. I think everyone is amped to get going.”

“With big changes like that (on the coaching staff and the new offense), it motivates everybody. It shows everyone we still have a lot to prove. We have a lot of potential, but we haven’t played that way the last couple seasons.”


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