NASHVILLE, Tenn. A Tennessee State freshman defensive back has collapsed during practice and later declared dead at a hospital.
William Wayne Jones, III, a freshman walk-on from Smyrna, Tenn., had just caught a ball and was throwing it to defensive backs coach Ed Sanders when he collapsed Wednesday afternoon. Trainers found the 19-year-old Jones unconscious with no pulse. He was taken to Baptist Hospital where he died at approximately 6:50 p.m. EST, according to a statement posted on the school's athletic website.
Athletic director Teresa Phillips called it a very tragic day for Tennessee State and said in a statement that the university community is devastated by Jones' death.
The Tigers (8-2) have an open date Saturday and conclude the regular season Nov. 17 at Tennessee Martin.
In a statement on the school's website, TSU's president Dr. Portia Shields said the campus would hold a unifying rally on campus to honor Jones.
"Wayne was an outstanding, personable young man, who was on his way to becoming a leader as shown by the skills he exhibited among his friends and team mates," Shields wrote.