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    Default Notre Dame football recruit dies in fall

    http://highschool.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1070547

    Cincinnati St. Xavier star dies in fall.

    Matt James, one of the nation's top high school football players who was headed to Notre Dame this fall, died instantly Friday night after falling from a third-floor balcony during a Spring break trip in Panama City, Fla.

    Local police are still investigating the incident, according to wjhd.com, the Web site of the local ABC television station.


    Massive offensive tackle Matt James already was considered an NFL prospect.

    James, a 6-foot-8, 290-pound offensive tackle from Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier, was one of the top recruits in Notre Dame's incoming class, according to IrishIllustrated. He was ranked as the No. 86 overall recruit by Rivals.com in the Class of 2010, No. 14 at his position, and was a U.S. Army All-American.

    James would have been 18 on April 9.

    According to Cincinnati.com, the Web site of the Cincinnati Enquirer, teammate and fellow Notre Dame recruit Luke Massa was with James when he fell.

    "Luke is devastated," Massa's father, Gary, told the paper Friday night. "He lost one of his best friends."

    St. Xavier, a national high school football power, said in a release issued late Friday night that several hundred students, faculty and friends joined in a circle at midfield of St. Xavier Stadium and held lit candles while sharing stories of James before offering a prayer.

    The release said tough times often bring out the best in the school.

    "It's amazing how quickly the word spread and how quickly the community came together. Lyrics in our alma mater say 'we are Xavier men forever,' and I think this gathering showed how much these guys take that to heart. For this many people to appear on the first night of spring break is a testament both to Matt and to the strength of the St. X community in difficult times.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the James family in this horrific time of loss. The entire James family - immediate and extended - has always been good to St. X. We hope we can be of comfort in their time of need. We are a faith community and this certainly is a test of that faith, but we will get through it together. We are all devastated by the news, but grateful for the gift of having had Matt as a Xavier man."

    A prayer service was scheduled for Saturday morning at the school's chapel.

    James, who had offers from many of the top college football programs, was considered an NFL prospect and would have competed for playing time as a true freshman, Rivals.com football recruiting expert Barry Every said.

    "Linemen this big and athletic do not grow on trees, so he should get a chance to compete for a spot on the two-deep as a freshman. Look for him to be a solid three-year starter with serious NFL potential barring an injury."

    Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly - who previously coached at Cincinnati - expressed his sorrow in a statement released by the university:

    "The Notre Dame football program is in a state of disbelief and incredible sadness with the news of this tragic event," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Matt James in this most trying of times.

    "On a personal level, I got to know Matt quite well over the past few years and he was a wonderful young man from a great family. Matt was an extremely talented person who was very bright and possessed a great dry sense of humor. He could not wait to join the Notre Dame family.

    "My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the James family as well as the St. Xavier High School and Cincinnati communities."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Notre Dame football recruit dies in fall

    Yea... It's been the top story on all the news stations around here... Pretty sad... He was a good kid, with a great amount of potential...

    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Notre Dame football recruit dies in fall

    Tragic
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    Default Re: Notre Dame football recruit dies in fall

    Police: Notre Dame recruit 'drunk' on fatal fall
    By JOE KAY AP Sports Writer The Associated Press
    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    [IMGL]http://i44.tinypic.com/20u4she.jpg[/IMGL]CINCINNATI (AP) A [HIGH-LIGHT]"drunk and belligerent"[/HIGH-LIGHT] 17-year-old Notre Dame football recruit was killed in a fall from a fifth-floor hotel balcony during his senior-year spring break in Florida, authorities said Saturday.

    Matt James died Friday around 6:30 p.m. at the Days Inn Motel in Panama City Beach. Police said he was dead when officers arrived.

    "It appears to be a tragic accident," Panama City Beach police Maj. David Humphreys said.

    James' former teammates at St. Xavier High School gathered for a private prayer service in the school's chapel, mourning the second death of an athlete this school year. James, an all-state offensive lineman, had been the first top signing for new Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.

    James was part of a group of about 40 St. Xavier students and a half-dozen parents on the trip.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]"Witnesses and friends indicate he had become drunk and belligerent," Humphreys said. "He had leaned over the balcony rail, was shaking his finger at the people in the next room over. He fell over."[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Humphreys said the railing at the hotel met the standards for proper height. He said police would be interested in pursuing charges if they learn who provided the underage teen with alcohol.

    Police said an autopsy on James would be done later. Toxicology results were pending.

    James' parents went to Florida on Friday night, returned to Cincinnati and released a statement Saturday evening asking for privacy while they make funeral arrangements and grieve.

    "We would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support during this tragic time, particularly the family at St. X," Jerry and Peggy James said. "Matt was a very special young man, and it is gratifying to us that you all could see that as well. We are touched by this outpouring of love."

    The 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive lineman also was on St. Xavier's varsity basketball team.

    "This is just such a tragedy because he was just a wonderful, wonderful kid," said Mary Massa, the mother of St. Xavier quarterback Luke Massa, who also has committed to Notre Dame. "When he first came to St. X, he was pretty quiet. He was tall and kind of awkward. He just blossomed while he was there. He was just a good, wonderful kid. It's heartbreaking."

    Word of his death spread quickly through social-networking sites on Friday night. Students gathered at the football field next to the school for an impromptu vigil.

    On Saturday, James' former football and basketball teammates held a private prayer service led by the school's chaplain, Paul Rieselman.

    "His message was that we have to take care of one another," school spokesman Mark Motz said.

    James was the second St. Xavier athlete to die during the school year. Junior wrestler Kevin Le was struck by a car and killed in September. The football team including James wore his initials on their helmet for the next home football game.

    Grief counselors will be available when classes resume on April 12 after spring break.

    James originally planned to go to the University of Cincinnati, where Kelly coached the last three years. When he left for Notre Dame, James reconsidered and chose the Fighting Irish over Cincinnati and Ohio State.

    "The Notre Dame football program is in a state of disbelief and incredible sadness with the news of this tragic event," Kelly said in a statement. "Matt was an extremely talented person who was very bright and possessed a great dry sense of humor. He could not wait to join the Notre Dame family."

    Luke Massa's father, Gary, said his son and James had "big dreams together" about their careers at Notre Dame.

    "One of the visions I have in my mind is after football games at St. X he was like the Pied Piper. All the little kids, everybody's little brothers and sisters would follow him around," Gary Massa said. "He was just a gentle giant, that's the best way to describe him."

    James isn't the first spring breaker to die from a balcony fall this year. Brandon Kohler, a 19-year-old from Winder, Ga., died March 24 when he fell from a fifth-floor balcony at the Holiday Terrace Motel in Panama City Beach.

    http://broadband.zoomtown.com/news/r...M_UNEWS&page=1
    Last edited by Palmetto Steel; Apr-03-2010 at 07:18 PM.
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    Default Re: Notre Dame football recruit dies in fall

    This kid was by far ND's top recruit......big loss for the program.

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    Default Re: Notre Dame football recruit dies in fall

    Matt James' toxicology results are in....A St. Xavier High School football player who was recruited by Notre Dame had a blood-alcohol level more than twice Florida's legal limit when he fell to his death from a hotel balcony. A toxicology report released Wednesday in Panama City said 17-year-old Matt James had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19. A person is considered drunk legally in Florida at 0.08 or above.

    Here's the link to the story....

    http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs...S01/305040062/
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