Back in action: Former Huss standout Prince Bemah eager to play for Charlotte 49ers against Duke, former prep teammate

By Richard Walker

When Gastonia’s Prince Bemah graduated early from Hunter Huss High School in order to attend UNC Charlotte in January 2019, then first-year Charlotte 49ers coach Will Healy considered Bemah one of his top recruits.

Prince Bemah (41) in action during the 2019 Charlotte 49ers’ spring game.

Healy still has high hopes for Bemah, even as two knee surgeries have kept the linebacker off the field for all but three games of his 49ers career.

It’s exactly why Bemah, a 6-foot-2, 234-pound linebacker, is eager to get back in action in Friday’s historic season-opener against Duke.

“I just want to get out here and show everybody what they’ve missed the last two years,” Bemah said. “That’s all.”

The Duke game will mark the first time an ACC team has played at Charlotte’s on-campus Richardson Stadium – and Bemah will be playing against his former Huss teammate Tony Davis, a sophomore defensive back for the Blue Devils.

“I’ve been talking to Tony ever since last year when we played Duke,” Bemah said of Duke’s 53-13 home win over Charlotte in 2020. “I was hoping to play last year. So I’m really ready for this Sept. 3 game that’s coming up.”

As seniors at Huss in 2018, Bemah and Davis were top players for the Huskies’ school-best 13-1 team that lost in the playoffs to eventual N.C. 3A state champion Charlotte Catholic.

Bemah’s injury woes actually started at the end of that historic Huss season as he suffered a sprained ligament in the Huskies’ 46-0 win at Ashbrook in the regular season finale.

But after enrolling at Charlotte, Bemah shined during spring practice drills and had 12 tackles (3 1-2 for losses) in three games before suffering a torn knee ligament that required surgery.

Bemah rehabbed again and was ready to play in the coranavirus-shortened 2020 season before torn knee cartilage in August knocked him out of action for the rest of the season.

“Prince is a guy who’s been through a lot for us,” coach Will Healy said of Bemah. “He’s been awesome and we’re expecting to see a lot of Prince on the field. We’re really excited to see what he does on Friday.”

There’s little doubt Bemah is ready for this year’s season-opener.

“I’m just trying to take care of my body and get back in shape,” Bemah said.

That effort has Bemah pushing for playing time at two different linebacker positions.

Since it’s been nearly two years (Sept. 14, 2019) since Bemah’s last official game – he made seven tackles in a 52-17 win over Massachusetts – is he worried about getting back in action?

“I’m not going to feel too nervous,” Bemah said. “I’m expecting a big crowd and I want to perform in front of my family and our fans.”