The Lake Cormorant football program and community are in mourning after the death of senior linebacker, Jaquarius “Tootie” Harper on Saturday.
“He was such a great person,” coach Nick Nester said. “Everybody that knows him loved him. It’s been really tough on his teammates, his classmates, his coaches and his family just because he’s the kid that always has a smile on.”
News of Harper’s death was made public when the Lake Cormorant football boosters Facebook page made a post stating, “Our community suffered a great loss this morning with the passing of Jaquarius “Tootie” Harper.”
Details regarding Harper’s cause of death are still unavailable.
Nester was first made aware there was a problem when he said he began getting texts from his players early Saturday, stating something had happened to Harper. Nester was informed Saturday afternoon that Harper had died.
The Gators (2-4) have five more weeks in the regular season and will honor Harper (who had 48 tackles and one sack this season) the rest of the way. The team planned to meet Sunday evening at Lake Cormorant after a candlelight vigil to discuss exactly how they’d like to do that. Nester already said they will have something on their helmets or their jerseys in honor of Harper. He also said they plan to put Harper’s No. 34 at the 34-yard line in remembrance of him.
“We played Grenada on Friday and he was the last player to come in the coaches’ office and give all of his coaches a hug,” Nester said. “He’s just that type of kid, always fun to be around, always very caring and he truly cared about the people around him.”