Nashville, TN – Tennessee State University is mourning the death of a football player who died Wednesday after collapsing during a team practice.
William Wayne Jones III, a 19-year-old freshman defensive back from Smyrna, collapsed shortly after catching a pass during a non-contact drill and became unresponsive around 4 p.m. After trainers were unsuccessful in reviving Jones, he was transported to Baptist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:50 p.m., officials from the Ohio Valley Conference school said.
Head coach Rod Reed told USA Sports he knew of no pre-existing conditions that would indicate Jones' health was at risk.
"This is a very tragic day for our entire Tennessee State University community and we are devastated by the sudden passing of this young man," athletic director Teresa Phillips said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time. Our university and our football team are hurting as we feel the loss of one of our own. As a team and a family, we will grieve alongside the family and do everything we can to help support the family through this very difficult time."
Jones, a walk-on, was being redshirted and had not played in a game for the Tigers, who have a bye this weekend and complete the regular season on Nov. 17 at UT Martin.