Fitch’s Price look a lot like another #54


Austintown Fitch 2013 prospect Billy Price

Although the number 54 might
be shared by coincidence only, the actual comparisons between Billy
Price from Austintown Fitch High School and Ohio State’s Johnny Simon
are not only likely but inevitable.

Although the number 54 might
be shared by coincidence only, the actual comparisons between Billy
Price from Austintown Fitch High School and Ohio State’s Johnny Simon
are not only likely but inevitable.

here and there have mentioned it but it’s not so big of a deal,” Price
said. “Originally, in my freshman year, I was starting to play at middle
linebacker and I was like, oh Brian Urlacher. So that’s why I thought
of that. He’s not my favorite player but it’s just kind of like a tough
number, you have the Brian Urlacher reputation.”

And the fact that Simon also wears it is obviously a bonus.

“Johnny Simon is a tremendous athlete. I know his father. I’ve
met (Simon) and I’ve talked to him before. His father was actually my
football coach back in the sixth grade,” Price said. “But it’s more of a
surprise or coincidence that we’re both 54. I don’t wear it
specifically just for him though, like I said it was more of a
coincidence. But yeah the comparisons, I get them every now and then.
But it’s just talk I guess.”

It’s certainly flattering, the comparisons, nonetheless.

“Oh my God, yeah. Look at what John’s doing,” Price said. “He
played a lot as a freshman and started as a sophomore. Come next year,
people all over the country are going to know his name. He works his
butt off. I’ve heard about the workouts he does. They’re absolutely sick
numbers. The kid has just a great work ethic and I want to model that
because he’s so successful and it’s all about that hard work.

John Simon
is just a tremendous athlete and he’s an awesome kid from what I know.
And his family is just the same. I want that kind of same reputation as
that D-I recruit, number 54, Billy Price, coming out of Youngstown.”

Simon, of course, was an integral member of the formidable Big
Four at Cardinal Mooney in his junior campaign. He was the lone junior
of the group with three senior D-I recruits who lived up to their lofty
reputation when Mooney played in four consecutive state championship
contests, winning two of them.

And now at Fitch, in Price’s junior campaign, there’s a similar
scenario evolving as seniors Will Mahone and the Davis Twins, Demitrious
and Chris, are all definitely ticketed for a spot on a D-I roster
somewhere on the collegiate level after their respective prep careers
are finished.

“We all have the same goals, we all want that D-I scholarship
from the best school possible, we all want to work the hardest,” Price
said. “I know for a fact that Chris Davis, Will Mahone and Demitrious
are awesome in the weight room. So although we haven’t really recognized
ourselves as the Big Four I want to help them. I want to help Will get
10-plus touchdowns. I want to be that blind-side (tackle) for Demitrious
this year. I want to make sure he doesn’t get hurt like he did last

“Same thing with Chris, I want to be the guy that seals off the
edge for him giving him that 15- to 20-yard gain every four plays or
whatever. It’s more about the team before I kind of thing with us.”

The goal at the end of the day, or the season for that matter, is
winning a state championship just like that Mooney team, starring the
Big Four, did in 2006, although they were upset in the state final in
the final season of the Big Four playing together in ’07, Simon’s junior

Fitch, on the other hand, made a brief appearance in the
postseason en route to a 10-2 record last year and they’re hoping to
follow that breakthrough campaign up with an even better one this coming

“Obviously we want to get back to where we were last year and go
deeper into the playoffs,” said Price, referring to the Falcons who lost
for the first time in week nine last season. “Last year was last year,
you can’t do anything about it. But this year, like we did last year, we
want to be 1-0 and focus on the next one. We’re not thinking about
being 12-0 or 15-0 and winning a state title or whatever, it’s 1-0 and
focus on the next game.

“We don’t look down the road, we don’t look to (arch-rival)
Boardman being our last game, we’re looking at (Warren) Harding right
now. We’ve got to get prepared for them and take our time and do our
thing. The state playoffs will be there, we’ll get that first-round
playoff birth if we just focus on one game at a time, then the next one
and so forth.”

As far as Price’s individual contribution to the success of his
team going forward is concerned, he’s likely to be an integral member on
both sides of the ball over the next two seasons at Fitch before he has
to worry about deciding on what position he’ll play at on the next

“That’s like an every day-changing thing with me,” said Price,
who played mainly on offense in his sophomore campaign with the Falcons.
“I like offense and this (past) year it was like playing with a
defensive mind-set on offensive side of the ball. Me and my fellow
offensive linemen played offense like we were on defense and just
clobbered people. But right now, though, I wouldn’t say that I
definitely know for sure what I want to do.

“I enjoy defense, getting to punish the ball carrier is always a
great feeling and getting a sack in the backfield. But on offense,
knowing I just blocked that guy and Will Mahone scored a 35-yard
touchdown run or I just blocked that guy and Demitrious went in for a
touchdown. (Playing) On either side of the ball I think I’d be okay with
it. We’ll see. Two more years of high school and everything will figure
it out for itself.”

A multiple-sport athlete, like Simon, growing up, Price, a member
of the school’s hoop team and track team as well, has always played
both ways on the gridiron coming up through the ranks.

“I’ve always played on both sides of the ball,” Price said. “I
enjoy defense, it’s fun. Our defensive coordinator is an absolute
awesome coach. He’s very intense and that’s just how defense should be.
So being in an environment with him, it’s more of a job you take
seriously and you take pride in punishing people. And you’re protecting
your house, you don’t want nobody in your end zone. So it’s fun on both
sides of the ball for sure.”

At 6-4 and 280 pounds now, Price certainly acquitted himself well
as an offensive player last year at left tackle, especially during week
four against Federal League foe, McKinley.

“Going against Steve Miller
and Sevon (Pittman) was my huge moment. Two D-I prospect defensive ends
on the same field on both sides,” Price said. “With me only playing
left tackle, I went on both sides of the ball as left tackle and right
tight end because we threw some stuff in, and going against guys like
that, it was a huge learning experience for me and that’s what I cherish
the most from this year.

“That was my huge thing, being able to stay in there all four
quarters and compete and come out with a win, and handle myself better
than what most people thought. Some of my coaches were getting in my
head, making sure I was mentally prepared and tough for it, and coming
in there and handling myself as well as I did, I thought that was my
huge thing.”

At the very least, Price certainly held his own against Miller
and Pittman and he’s quite proud of just having the opportunity to play
against them at such a young point in his career, just his fourth
varsity game of his young career.

“I’m going to overpower some people just because of my size, like
against Poland there were a few pancakes just because of the fact I was
bigger than people,” Price said. “But being able to compete against D-I
athletes like I did was my most cherished moment of this past year for

He’s admittedly thought about possibly playing with Miller and
even Pittman and competing against them in practice on the next level
instead of against them.

“Yeah that would be awesome (if it worked out that way),” Price
said. “When I went down to the Ohio State game against Michigan I saw
Sevon and said hi. Same thing with Steve. Playing with them and going
against them (in practice) would be great. It would bring back old

The Ohio State-Michigan game was the first and only college game that Price has attended thus far.

“That was my first,” Price said. “Just being on the field and
watching Johnny warm up, kind of standing next to him in a sense, I was
back like five or 10 yards, but being able to look at him like
eye-to-eye, you kind of picture yourself down there in two years or
three years, for me wherever I end up, you just imagine that kind of
atmosphere and being in those kind of shoes was just a tremendous
feeling. I was pumped before the game even started.”

He certainly considers himself to be an Ohio State fan.

“Raised in Ohio, you have to root for the home team,” Price said.
“But I’m also a Texas fan. I started liking them when I was maybe 11 or
12 and I’ve been keeping up with them. This year was kind of a down
year for them but it’s Jim Tressel all the way.”

In addition to Ohio State and Texas, Price has two other early favorites in the recruiting process.

“Alabama and Michigan State,” Price said. “I started liking Mark Ingram last year as a player and their program. Mark Ingram is absolutely an incredible back and Trent Richardson,
I saw the special on ESPN and I was like wow! And Michigan State is
kind of like the first college that got out to me so I looked into their
program. It’s one of those places that it’s like ‘Yeah I like them but
I’m not totally crazy about them.’ ”

Price, admittedly, thinks about his future a lot these days.

“I think about it every day. It’s saddening to a point,” he said.
“But this year just flew by. It absolutely went faster than anything.
It’s kind of exciting for the possibilities that I may have if
everything falls where it should. It’s just kind of a surreal feeling
that ‘Wow this has come faster than what I wanted it to.’ ”

The future, wherever it may take him, is definitely bright for Price who will turn 17 on Oct. 11.

“(The dream uniform) changes everyday. It depends on what I get
in the mail,” Price said. “During football season it was that Michigan
State uniform. Then November came and it was the Ohio State uniform and
being in that 1942 uniform that they wore this year, that uniform was
sick, it was awesome. Then there was Alabama. There’s no really specific
college at this moment.”

You can be sure that Price, with a 3.7 GPA, will be doing his due
diligence however and he’ll definitely be ready to pick a school
whenever the time is right.

“I’m getting kind of like the basics of these colleges and
obviously the football aspect of each college right now,” he said. “But
it’s just…not yet. Not yet.”

Price, who ran a 5.01-second 40-yard time at the Nike camp in
February at Massillon Washington, will be at the Nike camp at Ohio State
on May 21 but hasn’t decided if he’ll attend OSU’s summer camp in June.

“I’m thinking about going down to Ohio State’s but I don’t know
yet,” he said. “Michigan State I’m definitely going to for their offense
and defensive line camp and Kent State’s I’m pretty sure.”

Price was ranked as Ohio’s No. 3 prospect for 2013 in Bill Kurelic’s latest ranking of 2013 prospects.

Click here for video of Price in action from

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