TMP's Jace Lang signs with Ottawa football
Jace Lang played a key role in helping the Thomas More Prep-Marian football team put together one of its best seasons in recent program history this past fall.
In the process, Lang also put himself in position to accomplish his goal of playing at the next level.
The TMP senior finalized his college plans on Wednesday, signing a letter of intent to play football at Ottawa University.
“For me, I just enjoyed the coaches a lot,” Lang said of decision to sign with the Braves. “They really connected with me. I went and visited the campus and really enjoyed my time there and all the facilities. It just kind of felt like it was the right fit for me.”
Lang recorded 51 tackles and three sacks from his linebacker spot for the Monarchs, who went 7-2 last season for their first winning season since 2011. The seven wins were the most for TMP since the 2002 campaign when the Monarchs went 9-4.
“It feels great,” Lang said to leave the program on a winning note. “My freshman and sophomore years were kind of rough, and the years prior were rough for TMP, too. Being able to have that improvement and finishing my senior season by making it to the playoffs was pretty big for me.”
Lang, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder, said his goal of playing in college started to become a reality for him over the past year.
“I started hitting the weight room a lot harder,” he said. “Seeing the progress I made, I kind of realized that it was something I wanted to pursue.
“I think I just got a better feel for the game. I feel like I was able to fill gaps a lot smoother. I knew what I was doing a lot better.”
TMP football coach Jay Harris credited Lang’s work ethic and leadership in his senior season.
"It was great to see him progress," Harris said. "I’ve only been his head coach for two years but I’ve been around him a long time with junior high stuff. He always said it was his dream to play college football and I’m glad it’s going to work out for him.”
“All the seniors came together this year,” Harris added. “It’s been fun. Jace was one of those guys that in four years he had three different coaches. That’s hard on a guy. It’s good for him to leave on a high note and be moving on.”
Harris said he hopes Lang’s opportunity to play in college will inspire his returning players to strive for the same goal.
“It shows the guys that we are getting noticed and the things we are doing are paying off,” Harris said.
On offense, Lang played running back for the Monarchs. He caught nine passes for 182 yards and a touchdown and carried the ball 23 times for 62 yards with one TD.
Lang will play outside for the linebacker for the Braves, who are coached by Kent Kessinger.
Ottawa, an NAIA school and member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, went 4-2 in a limited schedule last fall because of COVID-19. The Braves are scheduled to play more games this spring.
Lang is already gearing up for college football.
“Right now I’m just working on a lot of strength and conditioning,” Lang said. “Just trying to get my body ready and stuff. The coaches are great. I know they’ll be able to work with me and develop me into the best player that I can be.”