CULLOWHEE, N.C. – A junior defensive back at Western Carolina, Ja'Quayvin Smalls, has died after participating in a voluntary offseason workout.
Western Carolina spokesman Daniel Hooker says Smalls, 20, collapsed Wednesday and was pronounced dead about 7:30 p.m. at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva.
The school says he collapsed while running during an evening workout session. Observers said Smalls had complained of cramps at the beginning of sprint exercises and had been removed from the lineup to stretch.
The workout was the first for Smalls, who enrolled in Western Carolina's summer school. He had transferred from Georgia Military College, where he ranked second in tackles.
Athletic director Chip Smith says Smalls' death was especially tragic, since he was so young.