Notre Dame Recruit, Matt James, Dead at Age 17

Marc HalstedCorrespondent IApril 3, 2010 is reporting that four-star Notre Dame offensive line recruit Matt James has died in an accidental fall while on spring break in Florida.

The St. Xavier High School product from Cincinnati, Ohio was on break with friends and classmates when he allegedly pretended to fake a fall from a third-floor balcony. According to observers, he lost his balance and fell to the ground, dying instantly just before 6:30pm Friday night as reported by CBS and WJHG-TV in Panama City.

Toxicology tests, an autopsy, and other examinations could take place in the next few days and more information may come out early next week.

Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly has released a brief statement in which he expressed disbelief and deep sadness over the death of James. 

The 6'7, 290-pound lineman was the signature signee for Kelly in his first recruiting class after taking the reigns of the Irish program in December. Kelly had recruited James while he was at Cincinnati, and continued the relationship with him when he moved to South Bend. James's signature on National Signing Day back in February was a major move for an Irish program looking to rebuilt and retool, especially along an offensive line that had lost three starters from the much-improved 2009 line.

But for now recruiting, four-star rankings, and depth charts will become irrelevant as the James family, the St. Xavier community, and the Irish staff deal with the most unnatural of deaths; a young man with such a bright and vibrant future as a student, athlete, and person gone well before his appointed time.