NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – From a young age, football has come naturally to Westminster’s Brice Butler.
A love of the game as a youngster growing up in Farrell combined with hard work and dedication has led him to becoming not just one of the best defensive backs in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, but in all of Division III.
“Just taking what I learned from the older guys when I first came in,” Butler said at PAC media day about how he was able to have success right away as a freshman in the 2021 season. “As soon as I got here, they got me the playbook and helped me outside of football in the classroom.”
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And now, he’s paying that forward.
“Just me translating that to the guys that are coming in because I’m an older guy now,” Butler said. “Making sure they’re learning what they’re doing, getting the work in and off the field.”
Butler’s numbers and accolades speak for themselves. In 21 career games for the Titans, he has notched 11 interceptions for one of the country’s stingiest defenses. He earned First-Team All-PAC honors last season and was a D3football.com All-Region 2 Second Team.
The Titans have finished at or near the top of the PAC standings in each of Butler’s first two seasons, sharing the title with Carnegie Mellon and finishing third behind Carnegie Mellon and Washington & Jefferson last season.
More importantly, he’s also been on the Dean’s List.
“Obviously, my family,” Butler said regarding the key figures in his life that have helped him to be successful. He is the son of Amie and Robert Butler and has a sister, MaKayla. “Coach (Scott) Benzel (Westminster head coach), since I’ve come from high school, coach Amp Pegues (Farrell head coach) I’m still really close with. All those guys, they keep me going. My sister, she’s been my biggest fan ever since I was little. She encourages me to keep going. My teammates, everybody I grew up with, have kept me around the game of football. I appreciate you.”
Butler was a standout at Farrell and a part of the Steelers’ back-to-back state title teams in 2018 and 2019. He was also a two-time Pennsylvania Sports Writers all-state selection in 2019 and 2020.
“Farrell’s my hometown, Farrell’s what skyrocketed my love of football,” Butler said. “Farrell is such a small community so everybody is close with each other. The football program is a family, with a lot of good coaches from a football background. Learning all that knowledge at a young age like that made it an easy transition to the college level. I give all those guys respect. I appreciate them for everything, helping me out and making my transition to college a lot easier.”
Benzel was equally excited when they were able to secure Butler’s commitment to Westminster.
“It’s a program (Farrell) with a tremendous amount of pride and history,” Benzel said. “For us to be able to get into that back yard with coach Amp and get Brice, we were very excited.”
Benzel’s praise of Butler didn’t stop there.
“Brice, he’ll be, in my opinion, our next All-American,” Benzel, who will be entering his tenth season as head coach of the Titans, said. “I have zero doubt about that But he’s a just a better human being. He’s a tremendous athlete, a tremendous guy, somebody that is as good of a player on the field as he is off the field.”
Benzel is definitely on to something, as Butler on Tuesday was named to D3football.com’s Preseason All-American team as a third team safety, one of five PAC players to garner preseason recognition.
Westminster was sitting at 2-3 in 2022 following heartbreaking losses to Carnegie Mellon and W&J, but rattled off four-straight wins to close the regular season. They earned an ECAC bowl bid, but that game was ultimately canceled due to weather.
That finish to the 2022 season catapulted the Titans into a strong offseason, and expectations are once again high, as they picked to finish third behind Carnegie Mellon and W&J in the PAC Preseason poll.
“The offseason is just as important as the regular season,” Butler said. “In the offseason you put that work in before the regular season. I feel like the offseason was really good for me. I’ve been working out every day, making sure my teammates are working out. That way when the season comes, we’re ready to go. We’re very excited.”