San Antonio, Texas. (Jan. 9, 2016) -- Football and ROTC have a lot in common -- just ask Cadet Denzel Prince. Prince, who attends Bowie State University, is on the school's football team and is a leader in the ROTC program.
This week, Prince has been serving as a Cadet Marshal during U.S. Army All-American Bowl activities. Prince, who serves as a defensive end and linebacker for the Bulldogs, is also a family man and a full-time worker along with his school responsibilities.
Entering into the ROTC program wasn't always in Prince's plans.
"My original goal was to enlist, but two months before I was to go to basic training, I received a letter inviting me to come experience ROTC," he said. "I took a PT test and scored on the extended scale, then next thing I knew they invited me to join the program. So I ended up receiving a full scholarship for football and ROTC."
He said the skills he's learned in ROTC have mirrored many of the skills he's needed as an athlete -- allowing him to excel at multitasking.
"Time management is key. When you have all of these deadlines, you really need to know how to come up with a plan, and that's what you get from the military. You come up with a direct plan and you execute it," said Price. "Being a full-time father, full-time husband, full-time student, full-time worker and doing ROTC full-time, you really need to make a plan and stick with it. It's causes a lot of sweat and tears - I'm up until 3 a.m. every day -- sometimes it's more tears than sweat," he added jokingly.
He said there are definitely similar traits between his ROTC role and his role as a football player.
"With both, you have comradery - you bleed, sweat and go through emotional ups and downs -- but you do it as a team," he said. "It's what drives you to be successful from every angle. I believe that's what also makes a great officer -- when you can commit to something, and you can engage with a group of men or women and come to the same conclusions leading to successful outcomes - that's where leaders come from."
Prince added, that he feels many successful athletes have qualities that are essential for military leadership.
"A lot of college football players have been playing since they were really young, so they are used to the team environment, it's a benefit over someone who maybe isn't used to a team environment. If you have that team experience, you know when to follow and you know when to lead, which is very important in the military and in athletics," he said.
Another shared quality is dedication, said Prince.
"A good football player is a dedicated player, and every Soldier must be dedicated -- dedicated to the job, dedicated to the person next to them," he said. "In football, a lot of it depends on emotion, but in the Army your life depends on it -- so you really need to be dedicated to the person next to you. That's something an athlete can learn from a Soldier- how to be dedicated day in and day out."