Terps line­man McNair, 19, dies

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Ed­ward Lee and Kather­ine Dunn

Two weeks af­ter col­laps­ing dur­ing a team work­out and be­ing hos­pi­tal­ized, Mary­land foot­ball of­fen­sive line­man Jor­dan McNair died Wed­nes­day. The Ran­dall­stown res­i­dent and McDonogh grad­u­ate was en­ter­ing his sopho­more sea­son.

The 19-year-old’s cause of death has not yet been an­nounced.

McNair, who played in one game last sea­son for the Terps, was a two-time All-Metro of­fen­sive guard at McDonogh. Listed at 6 feet 4 and 325 pounds, he was a happy, smil­ing moun­tain with a promis­ing foot­ball fu­ture. He was named to MaxPreps’ Sopho­more All-Amer­ica team in 2014 when he was al­ready draw­ing a long list of of­fers from top Division I foot­ball pro­grams and was well on his way to be­com­ing a four-star re­cruit.

Mary­land act­ing ath­letic direc­tor Da­mon Evans is­sued a state­ment con­firm­ing McNair’s death Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

“We are deeply sad­dened by the tragic loss of one of our stu­dent-ath­letes, sopho­more foot­ball player Jor­dan McNair,” Evans said. “Jor­dan was a tremen­dous ath­lete, stu­dent, team­mate and friend, and he will be sorely missed. We of­fer our deep­est con­do­lences to his par­ents, fam­ily and friends. … For those who had the op­por­tu­nity to know Jor­dan, you un­der­stand the sad­ness we are feel­ing.

“Our thoughts and sup­port con­tinue to be with his fam­ily as they grieve the loss of this out­stand­ing young man.”

Mary­land foot­ball coach DJ Durkin also com­mented on McNair.

“Our team is heart­bro­ken with the loss of Jor­dan McNair. Jor­dan was an in­cred­i­ble young man, and his pas­sion and en­thu­si­asm made him an in­valu­able and beloved mem­ber of our team,” Durkin said in a state­ment. “Jor­dan was a hard worker and he al­ways had a smile on his face. He was an ex­tremely tal­ented foot­ball player and a hum­ble and gen­uine hu­man be­ing. Heem­bod­ied the essence of what it means to be a team­mate. Jor­dan was a fighter. Over the past few weeks, Jor­dan never gave up with his fam­ily, friends and team by his side. Our team will con­tinue to be in­spired by the spirit of this brave fighter. Please con­tinue to pray for Jor­dan’s fam­ily dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.”

On his @TheRealJMcNair Twit­ter ac­count, McNair re­vealed pas­sions fa­mil­iar to mil­len­ni­als in Bal­ti­more and abroad. The lat­est “Avengers” film left him speech­less (“Just saw in­fin­ity war...no words,” he tweeted), and a tour­na­mentstyle Net­flix bracket left with him one choice (“Ozark for the W”). He retweeted “SpongeBob SquarePants” memes and praise of LeBron James. He cel­e­brated Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals wins, Ravens draft picks and UMBC’s his­toric NCAA tour­na­ment up­set in men’s bas­ket­ball. And he shared only-in-Bal­ti­more mo­ments with his 1,800-plus fol­low­ers.

At McDonogh, McNair was a two-time con­sen­sus All-State selec­tion. Af­ter the Ea­gles went 8-3 his se­nior year, he was the only player to re­peat as a first-team All-Metro selec­tion on of­fense.

He had al­ready pulled in of­fers from such pro­grams as Mary­land, Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State be­fore his ju­nior year. His size, range, pres­ence and ath­leti­cism put him on the re­cruit­ing radar ear­lier than most play­ers his age. Dom Dam­ico, McNair’s coach at McDonogh, said at the time that he al­ready had the tech­nique of a col­lege player.

As a se­nior, McNair was the high­est ranked Bal­ti­more-area high school player, rated No. 287 na­tion­ally in the 247Sports.com Com­pos­ite rank­ings. He opted to play for Mary­land over about 20 other schol­ar­ship of­fers. He was ma­jor­ing in ki­ne­si­ol­ogy.

Last fall, he played in one game for the Terps, a 63-17 win over Tow­son on Sept. 9, be­fore red­shirt­ing. Af­ter Mary­land’s spring prac­tice in April, he was pro­jected to be the sec­ond left tackle on the depth chart.

Cur­rent and for­mer coaches and team­mates took to Twit­ter to pay trib­ute to McNair. Carolina Pan­thers rookie wide re­ceiver DJ Moore, drafted out of Mary­land this year, tweeted: “Rest In Peace Jor­dan McNair Gone To Soon.”

“The world lost a great per­son to­day,” McDonogh coach Ha­keem Sule, an as­sist- ant coach when McNair played, tweeted Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. “We will never for­get the im­pact that [McNair] had in our lives. RIP Jor­dan...”

Terps red­shirt fresh­man quar­ter­back Kasim Hill wrote: “Lord, words can­not ex­plain any­thing right now. Thank you for al­low­ing me to know a great friend, team­mate and a man who was truly a brother. Watch over us all Jor­dan and rest in peace, Love you for­ever.”

Fresh­man quar­ter­back Tyler DeSue added a photo of McNair and tweeted: “Rest easy brother. U were taken to soon from us but we know that your in a bet­ter place now.”

Jalen Brown, a fresh­man de­fen­sive line­man at St. Frances who grew up in Hy­attsville and grad­u­ated from DeMatha, tweeted: “R.I.P. Big Jor­dan McNair.”

For­mer Mary­land of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Walt Bell, who coached McNair last sea­son be­fore tak­ing the same job at Florida State, tweeted Wed­nes­day that McNair was “not only a great foot­ball player, but he was an un­be­liev­able hu­man be­ing.”

“Never take life for granted,” Bell wrote. “Jor­dan McNair was not only a great foot­ball player, but he was an un­be­liev­able hu­man be­ing. Heal­ways had a smile on his face, an invit­ing de­meanor, and loved his team­mates. Rest In Peace big man. See you on the other side.”

McNair was hos­pi­tal­ized af­ter an or­ga­nized team work­out May 29. At that time, Durkin said in a state­ment, “Jor­dan’s an out­stand­ing young man and a beloved mem­ber of our Mary­land foot­ball fam­ily. Our en­tire pro­gram is sup­port­ing Jor­dan and his fam­ily dur­ing this time. We’re con­tin­u­ing to keep Jor­dan in our thoughts and prayers.”

Play­ers col­laps­ing dur­ing off­sea­son work­outs have be­come a fa­mil­iar re­frain. Kent State fresh­man line­man Tyler Heintz died af­ter a con­di­tion­ing work­out in June 2017, and his death led to the strength coach be­ing fired.

In the Bal­ti­more area, Tow­son of­fen­sive line­man Gavin Class (St. Paul’s) suf­fered from heat­stroke dur­ing a sum­mer prac­tice in 2013 and col­lapsed. De­spite sus­tain­ing liver fail­ure, he at­tempted to re­turn to the Tigers, but his le­gal bat­tle to do so was de­nied. In 2014, Mor­gan State fresh­men de­fen­sive line­man Mar­quese Meadow died of heat­stroke af­ter a pre­sea­son prac­tice, ac­cord­ing to an au­topsy.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search by Scott An­der­son, Oklahoma’s head trainer, many of the 35-plus col­lege foot­ball-re­lated deaths since 2000 have been traced to overex­er­tion.

Mary­land of­fen­sive line­man Jor­dan McNair, a 6-foot-4 and 325-pound McDonogh alum­nus, played in one game last sea­son be­fore red­shirt­ing.

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