The Price is Right: NDSU’s Punt Returner Created Opportunity for Himself
The junior corner has now ran back touchdowns in back-to-back seasons
FARGO, N.D — Over the last two football seasons, special teams has really been a strength for North Dakota State and at the head of it this fall? Jayden Price who made a big splash on Saturday.
Against Valparaiso, Jayden Price ran back a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown to open up the scoring in a 64-0 win. It was his second in back-to back seasons after doing the same against Illinois State in the spring.
“Trust your teammates and trust they’ll hold a man up for you,” Price said. “As soon as you catch it, you just have to make a move and go off to the races with speed. Every time I catch one, I’m thinking I’m going to break it but once I make a person miss, I know I can make it happen.”
Price did some punt returning his senior year of high school in Kansas, however when getting to NDSU, he opened up the opportunity for himself to continue it.
“It never really was a conversation. It was just get out there before everyone at practice and starting catching them,” Price said. “They (the coaches) started noticing that and after that it came to where coach Morgan, the cornerbacks coach, started putting me on the depth chart at that spot. I just made it a point to him that I’m going to keep that spot.”
Price also starts at the number two corner sport and while that’s his main focus, he’s still able to fit in time to look at the opponent’s punter.
“I get a chart sheet of where the opposing punters kicks and where he tends to land all them so I have an idea,” Price said. “We were watching twice three times a week as a punt returner unit of their punt unit and get a good feel from that too.”
When you’re able to run two back, average 20 yards per return and produce 26 tackles, an interception and five pass deflections, you make your home state a fan of your team.
“NDSU has gained a lot of fans from Kansas since I’ve been up here. Everybody is loving it,” Price said. “I have a tremendous amount of support back home and everyone loves seeing me make big plays like I did back in high school.”
And now a pipeline has been created from Mulvane high school as Mason Ellis joins Price with the Bison next season.