Davis Price shows up to practice every day ready to work and compete.

After a freshman season that was the ultimate roller coaster ride, the sophomore kicker has kept his smile as he looks to win the starting job at Colorado this next season.

"You just have to learn to stay positive through it all," he said.

That wasn't easy last season, as Price, a walk-on from Evergreen High School, dealt with several ups and downs.

He joined the team last fall with little expectation of playing, since the Buffs had senior Diego Gonzalez handling the place-kicking duties. Kickers don't often get hurt, but then Gonzalez did. He tore his left Achilles' tendon in Week 3 at Michigan, opening the door for junior Chris Graham to take over.

Graham, however, missed two of his first five extra points - CU had made 156 in a row before that - so the Buffs turned to Price early in an Oct. 1 game against Oregon State.

Price could not have asked for a better debut, going 5-for-5 on extra points and 2-for-2 on field goals in a 47-6 win. His first field goal, from 54 yards out, was the longest ever for a CU freshman.

He was named Pac-12 special teams player of the week for his performance.

Price, in fact, made the first 13 kicks of his career (9-for-9 on extra points, 4-for-4 on field goals) before missing an extra point and a 26-yard field goal against Arizona State on Oct. 15.

The Buffs went back to Graham, and Price missed the next two games while he battled mononucleosis.


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"It was a lot of ups and downs," Price said. "It was tough trying to stay consistent through it, and getting sick didn't help at all."

To Price's credit, he kept battling. After returning from his illness, he went 17-for-17 on extra points, while Graham handled field goals.

"You just have to go 1-for-1," Price said of his mindset going into kicks. "Try to make one kick at a time and not worry about the percentage or the record that other people are looking at.

"I just learned that you just have to trust the process and trust that it's going to work out."

This spring the process has Price fighting for a job once again. Gonzalez has exhausted his eligibility, but Graham, Price and walk-ons Nick Porter and Taylor Wagner are competing this spring.

"Every day you step out here it's a competition," Price said. "I think it's awesome to come out here and compete. I think it makes us all better. I personally love competing. It keeps me on my game."

The competition is far from over. During a scrimmage on Saturday, MacIntyre said the kickers were "not as good as I would like," but did not say which kickers struggled.

While the competition goes on, Price will continue to battle.

"My main goal has been working on my consistency," he said. "I've been working on staying on my line and keeping my leg swing straight, so I hit a more consistent ball every time.

"I feel much more consistent and my leg is much stronger after the winter workouts."

Evans update

Running back Kyle Evans, who dislocated his hip on Saturday in a scrimmage, had surgery on Monday, according to MacIntyre.

In fact, Evans was in surgery as the Buffs wrapped up practice at around 11 a.m. MacIntyre said Evans is in great physical shape and has always recovered quickly from injuries, although his status for next season is unknown at this point.

"Hopefully everything will come out good from (the surgery) and we hopefully we can get him back in the fall," MacIntyre said.

At this point, MacIntyre said there are no plans to move anyone to running back to give the Buffs more depth.

Senior Donovan Lee, who played running back last year, has been practicing at cornerback. Even with Evans' injury, Lee remained at corner Monday.

Notable

MacIntyre said sophomore cornerback Anthony Julmisse continues to get better. "He's pushing to be a starting corner," MacIntyre said. "I expect him to be a starting corner. I think we have about four guys right now that could start at corner, which is good. He's very talented and he just has to keep fighting and competing." ... The Buffs will practice next on Wednesday. That afternoon is also CU's pro day, where several former Buffs will work out for NFL scouts.

Brian Howell: howellb@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.