A week from today, Keith Price will finally get his close-up with NFL scouts during UW’s Pro Day.
The former Washington quarterback, who completed his collegiate career in 2013 with a school-record 75 touchdown passes, was not one of the 355 prospects invited to the NFL combine last month, which he said was “definitely a shocker.” Since helping UW to a victory in the Fight Hunger Bowl in December, Price has been training in Carlsbad, Calif., with a group of other NFL hopefuls, including former UW running back Bishop Sankey, plus Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona) and Brandin Cooks (Oregon State).
Among the other 2013 seniors expected to participate in UW’s Pro Day are Sankey, safety Sean Parker and cornerback Greg Ducre. Price said former UW receiver James Johnson, who announced his retirement from the team last May because of a lingering wrist injury, is also planning to participate.
“I’ve been out throwing a lot to him and he still moves good,” Price said of Johnson. “He’s never lost a step. All he does is train. He’s in great shape.”
More from Price during a Q&A with The Seattle Times:
Before we look ahead, let’s look back at your senior season. What are you most proud of from 2013?
“I think the way that we competed, especially the last game, when we were pretty much playing with no coaches. Our team showed a lot of maturity. That’s the biggest thing I took from last year: I saw a lot of guys grow up and fulfill roles that needed to be fulfilled. We knew that eight wins was a big deal, and we ended up getting nine wins. So I feel like that’s a big stepping stone for the program, and next year’s team has a lot of confidence going into next year.”
How were you guys able to rally after the coaching transition in early December, and did all that make the bowl win that much sweeter?
“I thought it was awesome. It an awesome opportunity for us and for Marques Tuiasosopo. He did a good job preparing us and I thought it was a good opportunity for him in his kind of first head-coaching job, and for it to be his alma mater was a special moment for him and also for the seniors — it showed what type of team we had and what type of leadership we had. We were definitely put to the test and we passed the test.”
How difficult was it for you not being able to finish your last game, the Fight Hunger Bowl, because of that rib injury?
“It was tough, man. It was tough. I wanted to finish my college year off on the field. I wasn’t able to do it. I got hurt in the third quarter and didn’t play any of the fourth quarter. In a game like that against a great opponent, I wanted to finish the season out with a bang, and I was able to. But I thought our team did a good job of keeping the lead and not letting BYU back into the game.”
I assume the ribs are OK now?
“Yeah, I had a couple ribs that were bruised. They’re fine now. I’ve been rehabbing and I don’t even feel like I was hurt now. I’m completely healed.”
What have the past couple months been like for you as you get closer to the NFL Draft?
“The past couple months have been crazy, just training, man. Training like crazy and getting myself ready. Obviously, I wasn’t invited to the NFL combine, so I had a little bit more training time than other guys. I’ve pretty much been grinding since January.”
What’s a typical day like for you in training?
“Three or four days a week we do group training. We lift in the morning and do a lot of speed work, and then we’ll go out to the field and throw the ball around, and the come back and get after it again — a lot of agility drills, a lot of speed work, 40 starts and weight-lifting. It’s pretty rigorous.”
Who have you been training with down there?
“Bishop (Sankey) is down there with me. Brandin Cooks, Ka’Deem Carey. Some big-time guys.”
Are there specific things you’re working on, things you want to show scouts?
“Not really. It’s just about being accurate — showing that I can make every throw. There’s been little mechanical things, like my posture in the pocket and just making sure I’m not sinking lower than I need to be, and making sure my base is right. Just the little nuances of the position. There’s nothing drastic that I needed to change or anything like that.”
I know not getting into the combine must’ve been a disappointment for you. What was your initial reaction to that snub, and how has that motivated you?
“At first I thought maybe I just didn’t get my invite when everybody else got it. Because I definitely expected to be there — there was no doubt in my mind. I was preparing as if I was going to be there and then, you know, it didn’t happen. It was definitely a shocker. I was a bit disrespectful in a way, but I just had to learn to cope with it. It didn’t stop my grind or nothing I was doing. It just added more fuel to the fire.”
What’s your mindset now as you approach UW’s Pro Day next week?
“I’m excited, man. This like my big test day. A lot of guys are done with the combine and their pro day, and I still haven’t had my first test, you know what I mean? So I’m a bit anxious. But I can’t wait. I think it’s going to be an awesome opportunity for me and for the rest of the guys to show how we’ve been training and what we’ve been training for. I can’t wait to get out there and throw the ball around.”
What do you feel like you have to prove to the NFL types?
“Just arm strength. A lot of people look at my arm and don’t think I can rip the ball, but I think I have a pretty solid arm. I think I’m accurate, and I think I can make a lot of the big-time throws the guys in the NFL are making right now. I’m very confident.”
What do you think scouts want to see from you?
“I just think they want to see me throw live, and then they can make their assessments from there. Which is no problem. I’m anxious for it. It’s like getting ready for a game. I haven’t had those butterflies in a while, so I love this feeling, man.”
Have you had a chance to reach out to Russell Wilson lately as you’ve gone through this process?
“I actually haven’t talked to him since the night before the Super Bowl. He’s been pretty busy since then. But he told me, ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’ And that’s all you need to say. All I need is an opportunity — I’ve been saying it for a while — all I need is a foot in the door and I’ll take care of the rest.”