Troy Football Player Jadarius Garner Found Dead at the Age of 20

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2014

Aug 31, 2013; Troy, AL, USA;  A general view of Veterans Memorial Stadium during the game between Uab Balzers and troy Trojans. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Trojans sophomore defensive end Jadarius Garner passed away on Thursday, Jan. 2. He was 20 years old.

Garner's body was found on U.S. Highway 61 in Mississippi, three miles south of Oreilly.

Per the Associated Press:

Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Anthony Dunn said that the 20-year-old Garner was found lying on U.S. Highway 61 in Bolivar County at 2:27 a.m. after two cars had run over him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Trojans head coach Larry Blakeney addressed the news in a statement via Troy's official site:

This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Jadarius' family in this time of grief. Jadarius was a well-respected member of our football team and his loss will be felt by all of us.

Troy offensive lineman and Garner's teammate Caleb Carbine offered his condolences to Garner's family:

RIP Jadarius "G" Garner. Terrible news. Trojan family is praying for you and your family

— Caleb Carbine (@caleb_carbine) January 2, 2014

Garner was fresh off what was a productive second season at the school. He had joined the Trojans following a short spell at Jones County Community College, per the AP. He graduated from Clarksdale High School, which isn't far from where his body was found by police.    

After redshirting last year, Garner appeared in all of Troy's 12 games during the 2013 college football season. He made 21 total tackles, including seven tackles for loss and three sacks.

He earned Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 9, following a strong performance against Savannah State. Garner had seven tackles, three of which were for a loss, and two sacks. He also forced fumbles with each of the two sacks.

The Trojans went on to win 66-3, due in large part to how much of a force Garner was defensively.

After such a strong 2013, there's little doubt that the Garner would have had a bigger role in the defense come 2014.

A cause of death has yet to be determined. The AP report states that Mississippi state police were responding to what they thought was a two-car accident, only to find Garner's body.

The autopsy will hopefully provide some further details on this terrible tragedy.