Lancers Records On Marcus Price's To-Do List
By Bill Dolye, Staff Writer
August 22, 2010
Worcester, MA --- If Marcus Price needs more incentive to move up on Worcester State's all-time rushing list, all he has to do is listen to running backs coach John Smith.
Entering his senior year this fall, Price ranks sixth with 1,698 yards. Smith is second with 2,608.
Last season, Price ran for 1,056 yards to become only the fifth Lancer to reach 1,000 and the first in eight years. With a similar season, he'll overtake Smith for second place. If he runs for 1,305 yards, he'll break Greg Wood's school record of 3,002 career yards. He'd also set break Wood's single-season record of 1,189 yards.
"It's definitely possible," Price said.
"That would be tremendous for me to see him do that," Smith said.
Smith is rooting for Price to pass him because he knows that will help the Lancers continue to improve after jumping from 1-9 in 2009 to 5-5 last season.
Price was one of the most productive runners in Doherty High history, quite an accomplishment for someone who was only 5 feet, 6 inches, and 160 pounds in high school. Price used to wear a cowboy collar and huge thigh pads at Doherty to make him look bigger than he was. The 5-foot-7, 180-pound Price isn't much bigger now.
"Everybody told me I was too small to play football," Price said. "I always keep that in the back of my head. That's why I work so hard to try to prove people wrong."
Price lacks break-away speed, but Smith said he has the quickest feet he's ever seen. The bigger Smith taught him to lower his shoulder and become more of a punishing runner.
Worcester State is only a mile and a half from Doherty, but Price, 25, took a longer route. After taking a year off from football to attend Quinsigamond Community College, he was a backup running back at American International College for a season. Then he returned home to be with his mother, Robin Israelson, while she went through a divorce and major surgery on both feet. For two years, he worked at the Greendale YMCA and his football was limited to a flag league. Finally, in 2009 he enrolled at WSU and tried out for the football team.
"I was a little rusty and antsy," Price admitted. "I wasn't letting my blocks set up. I was just trying to take off as fast as I could and not be patient."
Price was also still dealing with the shock that his cousin Steve Toney, who was as close as a brother, had died at age 29 just two days before training camp opened. In honor of his cousin, Price still wears a wrist band which reads: "Always in our hearts."
Nevertheless, Price became a starter in his second game of 2009 and he ran for a season-high 93 yards against Coast Guard late in the year. Price also ran for his season high against Coast Guard last season, but his total was a much more impressive 203 yards. With WSU on its way to a 31-7 victory, Price was pulled from the game early in the fourth quarter. Price kidded Smith that he yanked him so he wouldn't break Smith's single-game school record of 239 yards.
"He'll get it this year, definitely," Smith said. "He's an exceptional runner."
Price is part Native American on his father's side so a couple of years ago he had a Nipmuc chief and the Nipmuc Nation emblem of a tree on top of a river tattooed on his left arm. Price switched from No. 6 to No. 22 this season in honor of J.R. Thomas, the former St. John's High assistant coach who died last spring. Price worked out at Thomas' gym the last two years.
Price realizes he wouldn't be in position to pass Smith without Smith's coaching.
"I'm sure we'll joke around," Price said, "but I'll tell him thanks."