Tennessee State DB William Wayne Jones, III collapses during practice, dies at hospital

In this 2012 photo provided by Tennessee State University, NCAA college football player William Wayne Jones is shown.
AP Photo/Tennessee State University

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.