The death of a freshman football player at Liberty University was not football-related, first-year Flames coach Jamey Chadwell said Friday.
Chadwell said the team learned of the passing of Tajh Boyd, 19, from Chesapeake, Virginia, on Saturday. He declined to give further details about Boyd’s death, saying he wanted to respect the privacy of the player’s family.
A spokesperson for the Lynchburg police said this week that police had looked into the death and determined a criminal investigation was not necessary.
“It’s been a challenging time not only for our staff, our players and just our whole community trying to comprehend all the different things have been going on,” Chadwell said at a press conference.
Boyd, an offensive lineman who enrolled in January, had already blended in well, not only with fellow linemen, but the team in general, Chadwell said.
“He made a huge impact on the team. He was very quiet as far as an outwardly quietness. But when he was one on one with his teammates, he lit up the room,” the coach said. “He had a very giving heart and if there was something that anybody was going through on the team, he was always there.”
In his first season with the Flames, Chadwell and his staff are using their fall camp to make player evaluations and create a depth chart, “but that’s not the most important thing that we’re doing now,” he said. “Obviously we’re trying to get a team ready, but also we’re trying to make sure that we’re understanding the different feelings that different groups might have and how to navigate that.”
The Flames are scheduled to open the season at home against Bowling Green on Sept. 2.
Funeral arrangements have not been made yet, and Chadwell said when they are, the coaching staff will rearrange the Flames’ schedule to be a part of it.
Many members of the team have availed themselves of counseling services made available by the university, Chadwell said. The team also had a service the day after learning of Boyd’s death, “and let some of our players share their hearts, and then it started raining and one of our players, after the rain, he said, `You know, rain brings growth.’”
After the showers, Chadwell said, a rainbow appeared over the stadium.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll