Ready for the Next Level: The Story of D’Vonte Price

D'vonte Price scoring one of his multiple touchdowns against Long Island last season. Photo by FIU Athletics

Brian Olmo / Staff Writer 

As the NFL Draft approaches, one Panther seeks to write history. 

Former FIU Running Back D’Vonte Price is looking to become the first-ever RB selected from the university at the NFL Draft on April 28 in Las Vegas

Price came out of high school as a three-star recruit. He led the Charlotte Tarpons to the state semifinals and averaged 39.5 yards per game, totaling 1,265 rushing yards for the season. Price, 6’2, 194 lbs, received offers from the Kentucky Wildcats and South Florida Bulls but ultimately decided to don the blue and gold and become a Panther. 

While he didn’t see much game action in his freshman year, Price had a breakout sophomore season. Price’s yard-per-carry average (6.2) was the second-highest in Conference USA and he ranked 14th for total rushing yards and 16th in total rushing touchdowns. 

D'vonte Price - 2021 - Football - FIU Athletics
D’vonte Price. Photo by FIU Athletics

2020, Price’s senior year, marked his first season as FIU’s premier running back. Price rushed for 581 yards on 85 carries and recorded four touchdowns. His 6.84 yards-per-carry topped the league and ranked 11th-best in the country. 

Price had his best performance against the Florida Atlantic Owls on November 13, where he ran for a career-high 178 yards, the eighth-most in FIU football history. 

But prior to his stellar 2020 season, Price endured a terrible tragedy. On July 16, Price’s daughter Malayiah was born stillborn. It was a moment that changed his life forever. 

“My son and I have a daughter in the sky,” said Price. “Those two are my motivation to get up every morning and come out here to work.”

He leaned heavily on his friends and family and slowly began the recovery process. With the help of his coaches and teammates, Price was able to get back on the field, with a new perspective on life and purpose. 

In his entire college career, Price racked up a total of eight 100-yard rushing performances and has averaged just under six yards-per-carry (5.97) over 49 career games. He finished second all-time in rushing yards for FIU.

After his time at FIU was over, Price was invited to the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. The Reese’s Bowl is an all-star college football game that showcases elite draft prospects to coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL teams. 

To do well at the Senior Bowl, Price needed to be in the best shape of his life. In a fortunate turn of events, he was able to work with one of the most respected strength and conditioning coaches in college football. Price credits this coach for a lot of his preparation and training. 

NFL Draft Player Profile: D'Vonte Price - Underdog Dynasty

Conditioning coach Andreu Swasey in the FIU Gym. Photo by FIU Athletics. 

My trainer [Andreu] Swasey. You know, training with him, getting my body in tip-top shape… He knows exactly what he’s doing, he’s been doing this forever now, before I was born. So who am I not to trust him?” 

At the Senior Bowl, Price displayed his talent for the world to see and improved his draft stock. In an article by the Pro Football Network, college football analyst and NFL senior draft director Cam Mellor says that Price has “proven to be a new-age, three-down back in today’s NFL with his rushing and receiving ability. It’s only up from here.” 

His play has earned him a few notable draft comparisons to players like Latavius Murray of the Baltimore Ravens and Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans- tall running backs with explosive speed and crafty footwork. 

While Price wants to stand out as an individual player, he appreciates the comparisons he has been receiving. 

“It’s a blessing, you know, to be compared to these dudes,” said Price. “Where I’m trying to get right now, I’m trying to get to the league so it’s a blessing to be compared to them.” 

Despite the promising comparisons, some are not sold on Price’s skills yet. Price is currently ranked far behind other prospects like Iowa State’s Breece Hall and Florida’s Dameon Pierce. Price, however, doesn’t let the naysayers get to him and has a message for those who doubt his abilities. 

“They ain’t gonna be doubting too much longer,” said Price. “To be completely honest, I come from a small school… they try to look over me, but as this process goes on, they’ll begin to wake up man, see what’s really going on.” 

FIU's Price is sixth-ranked NFL prospect in Conference USA | Miami Herald
Photo by the Miami Herald

Price has battled injuries, doubters, and personal tragedies. But yet, through thick and thin, he gets up and continues to put in the work to make his dream a reality.

32 teams will be partaking in the draft on April 28 in Las Vegas. Making it to the NFL is an extraordinarily rare accomplishment that most players never achieve. Price will be facing competition from a tough class loaded with elite prospects. Being selected won’t be easy.

But it’s possible that for some teams, the Price might be right. 

About the Author

Richard Gibson
Former Sports Director of PantherNOW