A Florida teen football star who had committed to playing for Georgia Tech on a full scholarship was fatally struck by a freight train this week.
Bryce Gowdy, 17 — who had just completed his high school career as a standout wide receiver and defensive back for the Deerfield Beach High School Bucks — was killed by the oncoming train around 4 a.m. Monday in Deerfield Beach, The Sun Sentinel reported, citing a preliminary report from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
He was already packed and ready to head to Atlanta to start his freshman year, his family told the paper.
“He said he was gonna be famous,” his uncle Thomas Gowdy told the paper. “He wanted to be famous.”
The Yellow Jackets mourned Gowdy’s death in a heartfelt tweet posted by the team’s coach Geoff Collins.
“Our entire Georgia Tech football family is devastated by the news of Bryce’s passing,” Collins wrote. “Bryce was an outstanding young man with a very bright future. He was a great friend to many, including many of our current and incoming team members….Bryce and his family will always be a part of the Georgia Tech football family.”
Gowdy was a four-year varsity starter for his high school team, the Sentinel reported. He was ranked the No. 6 senior prospect in Broward County before his senior season began, and rated a four-star prospect, according to the report.
“He always seemed easygoing, easy to get along with,” Dave Brousseau, a Deerfield Beach alumnus who now mentors some of the Bucks players told the Sentinel. “He was one of the leaders of the team. He was one of the guys who, when they were getting ready pre-game, he was always getting them fired up. So you got the indication he was clearly one of the leaders on the team.”
Gowdy already graduated high school so he could enroll early at Georgia Tech’s program, the Sentinel reported.
He was ranked the No. 6 senior prospect in Broward County before the season began, and rated a four-star prospect.
“He was a little stressed having the weight of the world on his shoulders by going [to a Division I school], and having to leave his two younger brothers and his family in an unstable environment,” Thomas Gowdy said, explaining that the family had financial struggles. “As much as he’s dealt with, to get a full ride — that’s unbelievable for where he’s from.”
In his final tweet, posted a day before his death, Bryce Gowdy wrote, “Family matters, can’t wait to get to the ATL soon!”
The Broward County medical examiner’s office will determine Gowdy’s cause and manner of death.
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