USA TODAY Sports recruited 11 prospects to chronicle their journey to the NFL Draft. Today's entry is from Washington quarterback Keith Price, who passed for 8,919 yards and 75 touchdowns over four seasons and 46 games with the Huskies.
I had a big-time sophomore year, and then we lost a lot of pieces around me. As a junior, I tried to shoulder the load a lot of times and ended up costing my team the game. I never had to deal with so much controversy. I had to deal with people questioning if I should be the starter or not. There were a lot of questions going into spring ball, questioning if I could get back to that level of play. People were calling for freshmen to take my job. It was a bit much.
I thought I became a better quarterback as a senior than I was the previous two years, picking up the system, learning the nuances of my offense, learning defenses' responsibilities and being a better leader. I thought I'd come a long way with my preparation. Quite honestly, I thought I'd be invited to the Senior Bowl, which didn't happen. I expected my name to be one of the first ones named for the NFL scouting combine, but that didn't happen either. I did catch a little bit of it on TV. It was hard to watch. It's natural for a quarterback to compare your skills amongst other guys around the country. There are throws that I know I could've made at the combine.
This has been happening for a while now. I wasn't extremely highly recruited out of high school. When I got to college, people didn't give me a shot. We had a guy named Nick Montana that came in and was anointed before he was even on campus. I had to answer questions about if I was going to be the guy to replace Jake Locker and how was this going to happen and 'there's no way' I could replace somebody like that. I learned a lot about myself throughout the process, knowing that I compete better when I have something to prove.
I'm working out right now in San Diego with Jordan Palmer, the backup in Chicago. We're going through the offense — Blake Bortles, Brett Smith and I. We get about two hours of film work a day, and then we go to the field and throw the ball around. In about two weeks, I'll be out in L.A. with our speed guy, getting my 40 starts and my shuttle and all my agility stuff done. I also have a private quarterback coach, Steve Calhoun, who I've been training with since I was in the ninth grade. I'll make a drive out to Orange County and get it in. It's seven days a week.
I talk to NFL scouts, and a lot of them see me as a long-term backup. Obviously, that's not my goal — it's to end up becoming a starter, and I'm pushing to that every day. It doesn't matter what team I end up playing for. I just know a team's going to get a steal and I'm going to work extremely hard, prepare myself as if I am the starter. I understand I'm going to have a long way to go, because the NFL is a different level of competition. But I'm up for the challenge.
Follow Keith Price on Twitter at @KeithPrice17