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CU Buffs’ Evan Price continues battling

Walk-on kicker has delivered in previous opportunities, but still competing for job

University of Colorado's Evan Price (43) ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
University of Colorado’s Evan Price (43) kicks the game winning field goal to help CU beat Stanford, 16-13 during the Nov. 9, 2019 game in Boulder.

Called upon in the final seconds of a tie game against Stanford on Nov. 9, 2019, Evan Price delivered the game-winning field goal.

In fact, most of the time Colorado has asked Price to produce he has done the job.

Still, entering his fourth season with the Buffaloes, the sophomore walk-on placekicker continues fighting to nail down a full-time job. That fight has continued this spring, and he is once again proving to be a reliable performer.

BOULDER, CO – April 26, 2021: Colorado Buffaloes kicker Evan Price during spring football practice. (University of Colorado Athletics)

“Evan Price has had a good spring,” CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. “He’s been our most consistent kicker. He’s another one of those guys, he’s taking advantage of the opportunity he gets.”

Price, from Evergreen High School, has had several opportunities to play during his career.

As a true freshman in 2018, he played in two games, going 4-for-5 on field goals, but maintained his redshirt year. In 2019, an injury to starter James Stefanou put Price in the starting role for the final three games. He went 5-for-5 – a CU record for field goals in a season without a miss – including his 37-yard game-winner against Stanford.

Last year, Price got his greatest opportunity. Stefanou was slated to be the starter again, but after an injury-plagued fall camp and season opener, he retired from football. Price finished the season as the starter, hitting 6-of-8 field goals.

“It was definitely big for getting in the rhythm of things, but it was a week-to-week basis due to COVID and stuff like that,” Price said. “The specialist group did a really good job of staying safe and I think we had one case over the whole entire year. So we usually had the full position group in there, but it was good to know that I was going out there and being the starter for a year.

“Even when James was ahead of me, I’m just kind of ready at all times, just because you never know what’s gonna happen.”

This spring, Price is competing once again with fellow walk-ons Tyler Francis and Mac Willis and feels good about his progress.

“Health-wise I’m feeling really good,” he said. “It’s not as demanding as fall camp.”

There is some pressure to perform every day, however, because Dorrell has placed an expectation of competition at every position.

“Right now we’re not settling on who’s going to be the starter in the fall,” Dorrell said. “We’re going to bring all these competitions at all these positions all the way into (fall) camp.

“I think a lot of those guys, in particular our specialists, they’ve done a pretty good job.”

For his career, Price is 15-for-18 on field goals and perfect (26-for-26) on extra points. Two of his three missed field goals were blocked.

CU doesn’t count bowl game stats in its career record book, but Price’s regular season field goal percentage of .875 (14-for-16) would shatter the career record if he had enough attempts. The CU record, with a minimum of 25 attempts, is .750, a mark shared by Jeremy Aldrich (1996-99) and Mason Crosby (2003-06).

Despite the production and success that he’s enjoyed to this point, Price will battle for a job in the fall when freshman Cole Becker, from Rocklin, Calif., arrives on campus. Becker, who signed a letter of intent in December, will be the lone scholarship kicker on the roster in the fall.

“It’s nothing new for me,” Price said of the competition. “I’ve always been a walk-on and just competed with scholarship guys my whole career, so I’m ready for the competition. I love competition.

“I think it will be interesting to see how fall camp goes and how summer goes. I can only control the things I can control and I think that’s just the most important way to look at it. For me, that’s just making kicks.”