From purple to purple

Butler alumnus Byron Pringle makes his mark during his first season playing football at Kansas State University

 

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Butler alumnus Byron Pringle wears number 9 on the football team at Kansas State University. photo by Ed Bailey

by Emily Beckman

Byron Pringle’s football career started when he was 5 years old. After his first day of practice, he remembers his mom asking what his backup plan would be if he didn’t make it to the National Football League. When she first asked, he didn’t have a backup plan; he wanted to play in the NFL.

Now, at age 23, he has two seasons at Butler under his belt, and wears number 9 on the football team at Kansas State University as a wide receiver.

At Butler, Pringle redshirted for one season and competed for one season.

“He just wasn’t ready; I know that’s hard for people to believe,” head football coach and co-defensive coordinator Tim Schaffner says of Pringle’s season as a redshirt. “…it just gave him some time to acclimate to the college and acclimate to the college game.”

But Pringle made his mark in his first season playing for KSU.

He led the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, accumulating 631 yards and four touchdowns. He also served as the team’s primary kick returner, with a total of 659 yards, including a 99-yard return for a touchdown.

“His future is certainly very bright at K-State, and even beyond perhaps,” Schaffner says.

While at Butler, Pringle received a few prominent lessons from his coaches, not only regarding football, but life too.

“The coaches always tell us to be accountable,” Pringle says. “That’s a big part of the game; being able to count on the person next to you, the person blocking for you.”

Goals

When he returns to his home of Tampa, Florida, Pringle gets “much love from everybody around the city,” including from the children that look up to him.

He wants to be a role model for these children. And he hopes they will strive to be better than him, not just at football, but in school and as people.

“I always tell them they can be better than me if they work hard and put their mind to it,” Pringle says. “Because I had challenges growing up to get to where I’m at right now.”

Despite previous challenges, Schaffner believes Pringle could probably take football as far as he would like.

“He’s such a driven individual,” Schaffner says. “He hasn’t let one mistake or one bad choice define him. Instead he’s used that as motivation to put himself in the position he is in now [at KSU].”

Playing in the NFL is still on Pringle’s to do list, but he acknowledges it isn’t promised. Right now he is focused on graduating from college, with a degree in sociology.

“If I don’t make it in the NFL, my goal is to give back to my community,” Pringle says.

He has visions of opening up a nonprofit organization, like a Boys & Girls club. And, he plans to do so even if he does make it into the NFL.

“I feel like where I’m from [the kids] don’t have an out,” Pringle says. “That ain’t right.”

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Pringle stiff arms an opponent at the Sept. 26, 2015 game against Air Force Prep. Butler defeated Air Force Prep 39-0. photo by Ed Bailey
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Pringle is chased down by a KU defender at the Nov. 26, 2016 game. KSU defeated KU 34-19. photo by Ed Bailey
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