NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Thursday, students at Tennessee State
University held a memorial for a fellow student, William Wayne Jones III, who
collapsed Wednesday during football practice and later died. Thursday, a little more than 24 hours later,
it was still very emotional for everyone at TSU who knew this talented young
Former football teammates
of Jones walked over to the indoor practice facility where the head coach spoke
to them Thursday. They were all there
Wednesday when Wayne collapsed at practice, and they consider themselves a
brother to their fallen teammate.
"For this to happen
like it happened yesterday, it has touched all these young men in a great way
and they are truly saddened right now," TSU Head Coach Rod Reed said
at a press conference Thursday.
"I was out on the 50.
We stretched, and we were about 10 minutes into the individuals, and he was
doing a simple back pedal drill. He back pedaled; the ball was thrown to him; he
caught it. He was bringing the ball back to the coach, and he collapsed," the
head coach explained.
The cause of death is
still uncertain, and those who knew him called Jones a very healthy
While at Smyrna High School,
he played football, basketball, and ran track until he graduated last year; and
although he was a walk-on player for the TSU Tigers, many people saw promise in
this young man on and off the field.
think I have ever coached a kid that was as self-driven," said his former high
school basketball coach Lonny Drayton. "This kid was just motivated to be the
best he could be at whatever."
Former high school teammates
said he was a mentor.
up to him because he worked so hard, and his senior year he was a great leader
on the football field. He always kept my head up," Desean Williams remembered.
There are three student-planned
memorials scheduled. The first one was
held Thursday night at Elliot Hall. There is another scheduled for Friday, and
one planned for Monday. The university is organizing a memorial that will
include the family of Wayne Jones. President
Portia Sheilds says they want to choose a time that is convenient for the
family before finalizing those plans.