An Illinois eighth grader who was tragically shot and killed at an after prom party in Venice on Saturday night was a star athlete who had already received significant collegiate attention.
According to reporting from TEGNA St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK, 14-year-old Jaylon McKenzie from East St. Louis, Ill. was shot and killed when a stray bullet from a fight that broke out inside a house party he was attending struck McKenzie. Police officers who were called to the scene immediately started life saving efforts on McKenzie and another teen, and then worked to save their lives as they transported him to a local hospital.
McKenzie died shortly after arriving at the hospital, per KSDK.
The eighth grader had yet to play a single snap of high school football, but had already garnered significant attention both in recruiting circles and the national media. He reportedly held scholarship offers from in-state Illinois and Missouri already, and was profiled as one of “six teens who will define the future of sports” by Sports Illustrated.
McKenzie’s idol, former USC turned NFL receiver Adoree Jackson, tweeted a remembrance of the teen, who was also a native of Belleville, Ill.
In addition to his football success, McKenzie was a strong basketball player and could have emerged as a college recruit in that sport as well. Now he’s being remembered by his family, friends and classmates, gone far too soon to realize the immense potential that all saw in his athletic talent and magnetic personality.