Leonard Parks, a defensive end who had committed to play football at Southern Methodist, died Saturday in his sleep.
The cause of his death is unknown but an autopsy is due to be performed.
Parks played in Texas High’s (Texarkana, Texas) opener Friday and didn’t appear to suffer an injury or have any underlying medical issues, according to reports.
The school superintendent, Paul Norton, said the team’s season will go on as usual, should the players want that.
“He lit up a room when he.. when Leonard walked in a room you knew Leonard was in the room, I mean it wasn’t just because of his stature it was because of the kind of young man that he was and had become,” Norton said, according to ArkLaTex.com. “Great young man, had a football scholarship to SMU, which means you’re not just a great football player, you’re a great kid and you have the grades to get into SMU.”
SMU football tweeted condolences following the announcement of Parks’ death.
Further, SMU coach Chad Morris released a statement Sunday:
“The entire SMU football family is saddened by the passing of Leonard Parks. Leonard had come to our camp and we had been recruiting him for quite some time. Many of our coaches had developed strong relationships with Leonard, and we considered him one of our own,” Morris said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Leonard’s family, his coach Gerry Stanford, his teammates and everyone who was close to him. Leonard and his family will forever be a part of our StangGang18 class.”