• Georgia Southern football player dies at 18

    By: Chelsea Prince, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    A freshman offensive lineman at Georgia Southern University has died, the university confirmed Monday night.

    Jordan Wiggins, 18, played at Godby High School in Tallahassee, Florida, before he enrolled at Georgia Southern this fall with the intent of majoring in electrical engineering, according to the university's football roster. He was scheduled to redshirt this season.

    Wiggins was found unresponsive in his dorm room Monday night after a family member requested a wellness check, a spokesman for the university said. He was taken to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, where he died. 

    "We are devastated to learn of Jordan's passing," Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein said in a statement. "Although he has only been on campus for a few months, Jordan has left an indelible mark on our program. He was a great person, a great teammate and a great friend to the entire Georgia Southern community. Our deepest condolences and heartfelt thoughts go out to the Wiggins family, and all those who knew and loved Jordan."

    In high school, Wiggins was named to the All-Big Bend first team by the Tallahassee Democrat. He was selected youth of the year by the Capital Outlook, a weekly newspaper based in Tallahassee, for his work on and off the field.

    Wiggins' mother, Althea Jones, died in 2017, and he spent his senior year of high school living with the mother of his football coach, Brandon McCray, the Democrat reported. 

    "That was like my adopted son," McCray told the newspaper. "I coached with him for two years and against all his brothers for years. I'm still in shock. I don't know what to think."

    The GBI is investigating Wiggins' death, which is the university's protocol in student deaths. While no results were available Monday, authorities indicated to university officials that no foul play is suspected.

    "My heart is broken for Jordan, his family, our team and this university," head football coach Chad Lunsford said in a statement. "Jordan was a great Georgia Southern man with a bright future. His time on Earth was short, but we know that there is a greater plan, and we must trust that. 

    "If he was indeed struggling with some personal issues, I wish the resources that we currently provide our students could have helped more."

    Counseling services are available to all Georgia Southern students, faculty and staff, university officials said. Counseling centers on the Statesboro and the Armstrong campus are open 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The centers may also be reached by phone during business hours. 

    Georgia Southern is encouraging anyone who may be considering suicide or knows someone who is to call university police at 912-478-5234 at any time. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 or text "HOME" to 741741. 

    This report was written by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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