Knight's tale of persistence: Pringle signs with Youngstown



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Wed. February 1, 2012 | Joey Knight | Email

Knight's tale of persistence: Pringle signs with Youngstown

Exactly one camera clicked at one college signee -- three-way star Byron Pringle -- at Robinson's subdued ceremony inside a conference room Wednesday morning.

But while the setting lacked frills, cameras and observers, it dripped with poignance and persistence.

Pringle, who's football career seemed in serious peril this time last year following his arrest in the summer of 2010, signed with Division I-AA Youngstown State. If he takes care of his academic duties, he'll be the first of six siblings to attend college.

"It feels great to have a second chance to play football, doing something I love," Pringle said.

After showing flashes of major college promise as a sophomore, Pringle missed all of his junior year following his July 2010 arrest for his involvement in a South Tampa crime spree. He was sentenced to four years' probation and 100 hours of community service, and hand-wrote letters of apology to five victims.

After spending his junior year at a local technical school, he re-enrolled at Robinson in time for his senior year, and dazzled on both sides of the ball (more than 550 total yards). In a Class 5A playoff game at Robinson, he had two TDs of 90-plus yards.

But until visiting Youngstown last weekend, his only college offer had come from Bethune-Cookman.

"I just told (Youngstown coaches) the truth," Pringle said. "I told them I was remorseful for what I did and that I'm a changed person."

Pringle (6-foot-2, 187 pounds) said he intends to have his remaining community service (50 or so hours) completed before his high school graduation. He and Knights coach Mike DePue seem optimistic the courts will allow him to enroll at Youngstown this summer.

If, that is, he remains trouble-free and takes care of his grades.

"If he jumps through the hoops he'll be fine," DePue said. It's been a tumultuous 18 months. ... It's had some ups and downs. The hurdles that he personally had to get through had to be gut-wrenching for him, and I tell you what, it was gut-wrenching for us."

Pictured (L to R): Patty Knight, Robinson AD Marcia Monk, Byron Pringle, Robinson coach Mike DePue

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