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Clemson Football Game Program Feature: A Hard Day’s Work

Clemson Football Game Program Feature: A Hard Day’s Work

Sept. 1, 2011

Hard work is something Phillip Price is used to. Whether it is on the football field or on his family farm, Price knows that there is a time for work and a time for fun. To Price, football is fun and much different from the hard work he was used to as a youth.

Price was born in Dallas, TX and moved with his family to South Carolina at the age of three. This is where he began to learn about work-ethic and life on the farm, as his family owned nearly 1,500 acres in rural Dillon, SC.

It is safe to say that he learned the value of hard work at an early age, an ideal that he still believes and practices to this day.

“What we do out here isn’t work,” said Price. “Growing up on the farm…now that is work! Playing football is fun.”

For a kid who spent much of his youth waking up at 5:00 in the morning to help his father pick cotton or pull weeds until dark, spending his day in class or on the practice field in the Upstate heat is a drastic change from life in Dillon.

“Working on a farm year-round as a child helping farm cotton and soybeans will force you into growing up at an early age,” explained Price.

Price was taught what it took to be a hard-working man by his mentor, his father. Price’s dad worked every day on the farm to provide for his family while also filling in whenever needed as a pastor at their church. This made an impact on Price, who saw his father give everything he had to give to his family. Price would take these lessons and begin to use them to become not only the player, but also the man he is today.

Price began playing sports at a young age, not only because he loved to compete, but as a diversion from the farm, even if it was for only a few hours at a time. Price was a two-sport star at Dillon Christian School. He not only starred on the gridiron for the Warriors, he started on the hardwood, where he averaged a double-double and earned all-state honors during his final two seasons.

On the football field, Price helped lead his team to the state playoffs all four seasons, including a state championship game appearance. His senior season was his finest, as he scored six touchdowns as a tight end and racked up 108 tackles and 11 sacks as a defensive end. At the end of the season, Price was named to the all-state team for the second consecutive year.

After receiving no offers from Division I schools in the recruiting process, Price was unsure of his future until Clemson and Head Coach Dabo Swinney showed interest in him as a walk-on tight end. He chose to accept the offer to walk on at Clemson.

“It just felt right,” said Price. “There was no place else I wanted to go.”

When Price arrived on campus, he measured 6’5″ and 250 pounds and red-shirted in 2007. During the season and the following offseason, he worked hard on his strength and agility, and more importantly, he became a smarter football player. The 2008 season saw Price appear in two games for the Tigers as a reserve tight end. He played six snaps against The Citadel and two against S.C. State.

Following the 2008 season, Price was given a new challenge. He was asked to change positions by Swinney and Offensive Line Coaches Brad Scott and Danny Pearman. Scott had always believed that Price would grow into a tackle, and it was time for the move.

The shift in position would also require a shift in body type. Price was asked to change his body into that of a tackle, which meant adding weight while still being able to maintain his athletic ability to be an effective tackle.

Price took on this challenge just as he had every other he had faced in his life…with hard work. He shaped his body into that of a tackle and was ready to contribute right away.

The 2009 season, a year that saw the Tigers win the ACC Atlantic Division title for the first time in history, also saw Price appear in all 14 games. He was a valuable member of the special teams as a blocker. He also earned the opportunity to log snaps at his new position of tackle, appearing in four games there for the Tigers.

In 2010, Price appeared in all 13 games as a second-team tackle behind All-ACC player Chris Hairston, who is now with the Buffalo Bills. He once again showed his versatility and athleticism when he started as an extra tight end at Wake Forest. That was quite an accomplishment for a player who was an original walk-on (he was put on scholarship at the beginning of the 2009 season).

Following the 2010 season, Price would now have the chance to battle for a starting spot at left tackle with Hairston’s graduation.

It will be another step for Price, one Swinney knows he can accomplish. In fact, in the middle of preseason camp, Price got Swinney’s attention on an offensive line that returned four starters.

“He’s had the best camp of anyone,” said Swinney after a late August practice. “He’s really playing well, and a lot of that is thanks to y’all (reporters). Everyone thinks he’s supposed to get beat out because he’s from (a small school like) Dillon Christian School.

“He’s playing with an edge, a chip on his shoulder, really trying to be a leader for us. It’s been really interesting watching him transform into this role.”

Price has done a good job protecting Tajh Boyd’s blindside, and that is something he takes pride in, which has to make Boyd happy.

“I take every rep personally,” stated Price. “Not only does it reflect on me, it reflects on my friends on the offensive line and on Tajh. Of course you don’t want to get him hit. You want to do well, want to win, and don’t want to do anything that can possibly compromise a win. I take every rep and every play seriously.”

Taking the lessons he learned from his father as a child, Price has put his team, or his “family” as he calls them, first his entire career at Clemson, and the 2011 season will be no different. Hard work and dedication has put him in this opportunity to play football at the school he loves in a town that reminds him of where he grew up.

It is safe to say that during this season when the time comes for hard work, you will see Price leading the way on the Clemson offensive line.

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