A Double-Edged Sword

After celebrating its first bowl win since 2005 with a 30-21 win over Temple on Tuesday night at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., UCLA was dealt crushing blows on both sides of the ball after the game.

Junior defensive tackle Brian Price told Chris Roberts, Wayne Cook and Matt Stevens of the UCLA ISP Sports Network that he intended to declare for the NFL Draft after a spectacular junior season and freshman offensive tackle Xavier Su’a-Filo confirmed in a text message that he was going on his LDS mission immediately.

While Price qualified his statements by adding that he still needed to have final discussions with the UCLA coaching staff and his family, all indications are that he is leaving for the NFL.

“I want what’s best for Brian Price,” Neuheisel said. “Obviously, we would love to have him back. He’s a big-time football player. But if it’s a good decision for Brian and his family to move on, we wish him the very best.”

Price sky-rocketed up the pre-draft charts late in the season and his five tackles and one tackle for loss gave him season totals of 48 total tackles and 23.5 TFL. While also adding seven sacks this year, Price’s 44.5 career tackles-for-loss rank second in UCLA history behind current cornerbacks coach Carnell Lake.

Many around the UCLA program braced themselves for Price’s early exit, though, particularly as he exploded onto Mel Kiper’s Big Board at the No. 10 spot.


“I knew before the season started,” said UCLA senior linebacker Reggie Carter, who played with Price at Crenshaw High. “That’s my dude, but I can’t stand him. There were a couple tackles today where I just had the running back sized up, and he gets him. I’m just like, ‘What are you doing!? Why don’t they block you!? You’re in front of them already!’ He’s unbelievable.”

Price’s loss would only compound a potential weak spot for the Bruins, as they also lose starting senior defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski and one of their top backups in senior Jess Ward. UCLA will return juniors David Carter and Andy Keane and sophomore Justin Edison, and has two verbal commitments in Bellevue (Wash.) High’s Julious Moore and Fresno Edison’s Wesley Flowers. The Bruins are also targeting high-level recruits Ricky Heimuli from Brighton High in Salt Lake City.

“Definitely (Price’s decision) is going to have a big impact on the team,” UCLA sophomore linebacker Akeem Ayers said. “Especially with me, being a linebacker, playing behind him. He just kept tackles off me. But it’s something we’ll have to adjust to. We’ll have to get the other players ready to step up and ready to go.”

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  • Anonymous

    Goddamn it! I’m happy for Price and XSF for following their dreams and beliefs. But we just won a bowl game. Why not let Bruin fans and players celebrate tonight. Bad news can wait until tomorrow, no?

  • VBs Cat

    is this the same Mel who had Ryan Leaf #1?

    Stay 1 more year and be the Suh of 2010. Top 5 guranteed in 2011 draft.

    Either way like CRN says we wish you luck. Hard decision for you

  • Ryan Leaf

    DON’T TALK TO ME ALRIGHT! KNOCK IT OFF!

  • RickBruin

    great for Price has the experience and has accomplished about everything he needs to for the pros. you could see this coming.

    and I’m sure XSF’s mission was not a surprise.

    but let’s enjoy the win today, there’s plenty of time to kick this around later

  • RC3UCLA

    GREAT WIN, BRUINS! Way to stay in it, stay resolute in getting the “W!” Can’t say enough about our “D” in the second half. I wish you the best in the league BP, and thanks for taking the time to take photos after the fall scrimmage with me and my family. We will certainly cherish those photos…Xavier- I wish you the best on your mission, I’m proud of your decision even though I am not a Mormon and will miss watching your outstanding play…Just make sure to come back in two!!! Enjoy your win, BRUINS!!!

  • Mikey Likes It!

    When he was on the ground in the 4th quarter with an apparent injury I thought to my self his career could have been ended. In a New York minute his career could have been over! Better to move on when your chance comes. #10 draft pick????? It doesn’t get much better than that. Staying for his senior year would have been a VERY BIG and UNNECESSARY physical and financial risk!

  • bruindodger

    Proud of XSF and Brian’s accomplishments with the Bruins. They are both great kids who have been instrumental to building a better program for the future. Glad to know our coach, though it hurts, is not throwing a fit like Chetey Carroll did when Sanchez declared.

  • bruwin5931

    Good luck to both Brian Price and Xavier Sua-Filo. Really appreciate what you guys did this season.

  • bbruin

    Crushing blows? Please, a bit melodramatic I would say. Especially since most who follow the FB program knew both were likely to go. XSF was a toss up.

    A great comeback win and much needed. Next year looks to be much the same. If we get to 8 wins that will be pretty good considering our schedule and player attrition.

    Congrats Bruins and congrats to the seniors in particular!!

  • pr

    Good Luck to BP and I look forward to rocking his NFL jersey on Saturdays at the Rose Bowl. As for X Man, “I would rather err on the side of faith than on the side of doubt.” – Robert Schuller

  • BruinFaithful

    Congratulations to BP, he played like a man possessed today. Check your stats Jon, I’m sure he had more than one TFL. He was ALL over the field. I remember him catching that fast little back from behind several times today. That kid NEVER quits on a play.

    XSF, I really don’t understand your decision to go on a mission while reaching your prime. This decision could set you back forever. It in no way can help your career. Nobody said when you have to take your LDS mission. Why not wait until your playing days are over XSF? When you can use your celebrity to further promote your beliefs. LDS also asks that members honor the holy Sunday Sabbath. Does that mean you will not be playing on Sundays in the NFL XSF? If not, then it doesn’t seem that you exactly follow your religion to the letter. In which case, what is the point?

  • Mario DiLeo

    Unless you have your head buried in the sand, we all knew the probability of both Price and Sua-Filo leaving after this season…as long as Forbath doesn’t declare early, we’ll be fine. Is Neuheisel ahead of Ben Howland’s curve? Remember that in Howland’s first year at UCLA, the Bruins failed to make it past the Pac-10 tournament and then Trevor Ariza left the program. In his second year, the team got into the field of 65 only to get knocked out in the first round by Bobby Knight/Texas Tach (what is it with these Red Raider coaches?) In their third season, Howland & Co. zoomed into the national championship game.

    So far, Coach Neu went 4-8 last year and 7-6 including a bowl victory in 2009. With a projected Top 15 recruiting class coming in 2010 and trouble brewing at U$C, there is hope in Westwood…

  • MichaelRyerson

    Hey, this is life in a big time football program. Price could come back for his senior season but for what? More collegiate glory? And what if he blows out a knee or a shoulder? Or something as simple as a high ankle sprain limits his range and mobility for six or eight games next year? What then of his decision? And Xavier feels a personal obligation to his church that trumps (for the moment) college football? Duh. These are personal, praiseworthy decisions and we’re lucky to have had these class individuals in the program (and can look forward to seeing Xavier again in a couple of years) and the example of them living their dreams is good for everybody. Good luck and congratulations to them both and we’ll be watching.

  • Randor

    The NFL is likely to limit rookie contracts after the 2010 Draft, so leaving this year is a no-brainer for Price. Injury possiblities aside, Brian will make more $ this year as a top 10-15 pick than as next year as a top 5 pick.

  • Anonymous

    Randor beat me too it and explained the situation well. BP made the right decision for him. Hopefully he can prove to everyone during the combines that he’s truly one of the top two DTs in this draft.

  • theuclan

    oh well it’s something every good program has to deal with… for the bruins to get to that next level they need to recruit better so they have players ready to step in… we need more athletes like Ayers…

  • http://qfl247.com Matt A

    As a SLC Bruin, let me tell you that 19 is the typical time for LDS missions… Yes, some people do it other times, but the ‘righteous’ time is the year after the first year after high school.

    The Ayers play gave me chills…

    I LOVE the Ryan Leaf quote… maybe the third best football rant to Pacman’s “Script Club” and Dennis Green’s “Let them off the hook”.

  • BigFatDaddy

    can’t blame Price. can’t really blame XSF either. just hope that he comes back when his mission is done. this will hopefully show other LDS athletes that UCLA is friendly towards them.

    i think the bigger issue is that we need better recruits on both the D and O lines. we seem to be completely stocked at the skill positions, but i don’t hear of us getting elite recruits for the lines.

    however, again i go back to the fact that not all 4 an 5 stars pan out. great analysis of this by bruce feldman on espn website (see http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=feldman_bruce). wouldn’t mind taking our “chances” with some 4 and 5 star linemen though.

  • Head in the sand

    Put down the chips Fat Daddy and review the profiles of XSF, Hasiak, Chris Ward, etc…

  • nobody

    Monti Te’o put his team first. Looks like both of our start O-linemen from last year’s class are now gone. One step forward, two steps back.

  • bbruin

    XSF is a good kid and have you read his quotes. He will be back if RN is here. I would take him at his word. Manti staying at ND is a surprise to me, but I dont really care what he does.

    We may pick up Hamani Stevens in time for Spring 2011 if you want to talk about true LDS Double-Edged Swords. So when he comes and XSF is back where will all the naysayers be??