Greg Bryant, a 21-year-old running back at UAB, remains in critical condition after someone shot him early this morning in Palm Beach County, Florida. The graduate of American Heritage High School in nearby Delray Beach and a passenger, Maurice Grover, were found at 4:45 a.m. Saturday in the southbound lanes of I-95, both with injuries, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Update (6:05 p.m. May 8): Bryant was declared braindead Sunday. We have a follow-up here.
Bryant was a five-star prospect out of high school and went to Notre Dame, where he got on the wrong side of Brian Kelly, apparently for low grades. He didn’t play after 2014, his second season with the Irish. For a hot minute he went to a college called ASA Miami but played little. UAB’s coaches, vying to reinstate the school’s shuttered football program in 2017, found him at a time when they desperately were in need of talent, and when Bryant needed another second chance.
Bleacher Report found him a few months ago living out of his suitcase in a low-rent hotel room outside Miami, hungry for a comeback. “This past year has been the hardest part of my life,” Bryant said then. Not playing football, going from the luxurious life at Notre Dame and coming back home and living in the hood at Miami while playing JUCO, it’s been real tough.” He joined the Blazers in January, knowing that he’d miss yet another year of football, but looking forward to possibly earning his degree in 2017. “That’s a dream come true,” he told BR. “Somebody like me getting a degree where I come from is unheard of.”
Bill Clark, UAB’s head coach, issued a statement today that read, in part, “Greg worked extremely hard this spring on the field and in the classroom. He told me his GPA this semester was the highest he has had in his life, and he was very proud. The light really went on for him here, and he had a bright future ahead of him.” Later in the afternoon, Clark issued a second statement: “We understand that our running back, Greg Bryant, is still fighting for his life in a Florida hospital following injuries he sustained in a shooting earlier today. The condolences we expressed earlier today were based on information a family member at the hospital provided and gave us permission to release. We remain steadfast as a Blazer family in our prayers and support for Greg and his family at this difficult time.”
The Post’s latest word on the investigation, dated 11:15 a.m., says police were seeking witnesses.
Update (6:05 p.m.): Reports were conflicting into this afternoon as to whether Bryant had died; the Associated Press’s most recent story, for instance, cited UAB in reporting that Bryant had died. But Tyler Greer, a UAB spokesman, confirms by phone that such reports, and UAB coach Bill Clark’s subsequent statement, were based on early faulty information. Clark’s statement above has been appended.