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COMEBACK KID: Running back Joe Price makes return to Alcorn football team

Alcorn State University’s Joe Price runs with the football during the school’s spring game Saturday. Price was sidelined all last season after suffering a leg injury. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Alcorn State University’s Joe Price runs with the football during the school’s spring game Saturday. Price was sidelined all last season after suffering a leg injury. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Lorman — Joe Price didn’t think he was ever going to play football again.

But Saturday, the Alcorn State senior threw on the No. 2 jersey, buckled his chinstrap and once again found himself at home stepping onto Jack Spinks Field.

His comfort level was obvious, as he recorded a rushing touchdown, like he had done so many times before in his career, and reeled in seven catches.

“It was really fun,” said Price of the team’s spring football game, which pitted the gold side against the purple side. “I had a great time because I haven’t played football in a year. So just coming out here and being able to compete, play fast and hit, it was a good day for me.”

Price’s road to recovery wasn’t an easy one, and even when he did begin training with the team, he said there was still some hesitation in his mind.

“I second guess things sometimes, but now it is just like go, go, go,” he said. “If I get hurt again, it was just meant to be. But other than that, I’m just playing fast and giving it all that I have.”

Price said it took him a little while to get settled back into football.

“The first day I came out here I was nervous and got folded up on a couple of plays,” he said. “I took my hits and got back out. After that, the next week I was rolling, back at it.”

Price is a part of a crowded backfield for Alcorn, though, that features plenty of young talent. But the senior said it is working together that is important for his position group.

“I just have to play my role and everything will take care of itself,” he said. “We just have to be a good family in the backfield. Whoever is hot, that is who has to go out there and go. I’ll just get my carries as the season goes on, and when I get in the game, I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity.”

According to head coach Jay Hopson, Price will be getting that opportunity.

“Joe is an explosive back and has done a lot of great things for us,” Hopson said. “He will have a big year for us next year. Joe is going to be a tremendous football player for us and he has made a number of big plays for us over the years.”

As for his spring, Price admitted he has areas to improve upon, but he did accomplish the goal he set out for himself.

“If I had to grade myself I would say a C-minus because I still haven’t accomplished things I think I can do,” he said. “I didn’t do great on blocking, but other than that I played hard. My goal was to come out here and play hard everyday, and I did that. So I accomplished my goal, but I still need to get better on some things.”

Alcorn, who won the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship last year, will open the season against Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse Georgia Tech, as they look to return to Houston for another shot at the SWAC title. Price said to get there, unity will be the key.

“We just have to execute on every play, stay together and be a family,” he said.

 

 

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