UTC defensive lineman John Prince becomes consistent contributor

Staff file photo / UTC defensive lineman John Prince, shown during a September 2020 practice, said after the deaths of his grandfather and aunt during the COVID-19 pandemic, he put his emotions regarding the loss of family members toward football and that has helped him "manage it better."

Before he could take the next step on the football field, John Prince had to takes steps within himself to get right.

The talent was unmistakable for the 6-foot-1, 227-pound University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore defensive lineman.

A member of UTC's 2020 signing class from Stockbridge High School in the Atlanta area, Prince had a chance to be part of the program all last year and showed potential. He started all four Southern Conference games on the spring schedule — the result of the 2020 Football Championship Subdivision season being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic — and made eight appearances (one start) in 11 games on the fall schedule.

You would see a sack here, a tackle for loss there, a moment here, a moment there. It was enough to garner SoCon All-Freshman recognition after the spring schedule, but it also felt as if there was another level to his game within reach.