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86 Days to Purdue Football: Brandon Prince

Today’s player is a walk-on with quite the background.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Today we have a pretty special story in regards to the player countdown. We have a player that has gone through a large number of hardships the past few years. Now he might actually get to concentrate on football for once.

Brandon Prince – Sr.

Birmingham, AL (Huffman, HS)

6’6”, 253 pounds

Tight End

2017 Projection: Reserve at Tight End

In 2013 as a true freshman Prince was relatively new to football. He had played only a year in high school, but it was good enough for him to receive an offer to play for Austin Peay at the FCS level. He was also a pretty accomplished basketball player at Huffman High in Alabama. Originally a defensive end, he eventually shifted over to tight end. He did not play that year.

For the 2014 season he transferred home to Alabama-Birmingham because his father was ill. He knew he would have to sit out a year, but that allowed him to get a job because he needed to work to help pay for his father’s medical bills and care for his younger brother. That’s when another challenge arose. In December 2014 UAB disbanded its football program. So after redshirting in 2013 and sitting out as a transfer in 2014 his entire football program disbanded for the 2015 season. Now he was stuck with a terrible decision: does he leave home to pursue his education and football or does he stay home and care for his family? This is from a 2014 story on the program:

While much of the team will likely transfer in hopes of playing football for other universities, it's not that simple when your family's in Birmingham and you're the man of the house.

Prince's hope is to transfer somewhere within a few hours of the city so he can stay close to home. Though his father ultimately wants him to do what makes him happy, Prince just wants to be there for the man who gave him the opportunity to do so.

"I want to be able to take care of my father and little brother," he said. "So, it's time to put the big boy pants back on and find another school."

Indeed, much of the team did transfer. Jordan Howard and Marqui Hawkins ended up and Indiana, with Howard eventually making it to the NFL. It wasn’t as simple for Prince, however. UAB’s program was only completely shut down for about 6 months, and it will officially take the field again this fall after a 2 year hiatus. Prince will be in West Lafayette, however.

From what I could gather on his Facebook page, he moved to Indiana after his year at UAB and eventually enrolled at Purdue last fall. He is in the Building Construction management program and is working for Flaherty & Collins. Coach Hazell invited him to walk-on last fall and he was still with the team through spring practice. Eligibility-wise, he is a 5th year senior now. From what I can tell, he is still taking care of his brother and father, so getting that Purdue degree will definitely help in that.

We’re pulling for you, Brandon! Welcome to the Boilermaker family.