William Wayne Jones III dies

Updated: November 8, 2012, 9:33 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

William Wayne Jones III, a freshman defensive back at Tennessee State, died Wednesday after collapsing during practice.

Jones, a 19-year-old from Smyrna, Tenn., was a walk-on and was redshirting this season, The Tennessean reported.

The school said Jones collapsed about 4 p.m. and was taken by ambulance to Baptist Medical Center in Nashville, where he died nearly two hours later.

According to The Tennessean, coach Rod Reed said Jones was participating in a noncontact practice with players in helmets but not full gear. Reed said Jones had caught a football and was returning it to a coach when he collapsed, the newspaper reported.

Reed told the newspaper he was not aware of any pre-existing conditions.

"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."

The Tigers next play Nov. 17 at Tennessee-Martin.