Monday, April 5, 2010

Police call recruit's fall a 'tragic accident'

Matt James a senior at St. Xavier, where he played offensive lineman, one of the nation’s most sought-after football recruits, died Friday in a fall from a hotel balcony on a Gulf of Mexico beach while on spring break.James, 17, died almost instantly after falling from a fifth-floor balcony at about 6:25 p.m. at the Days Inn on Front Beach Road. James was part of a group of about 40 St. Xavier students and a half-dozen parents on the trip. "Witnesses and friends indicate he had become drunk and belligerent," Humphreys said. "He had leaned over the balcony rail, was shaking his finger at the people in the next room over. He fell over." James was the second St. Xavier athlete to die during the school year. Junior wrestler Kevin Le was struck by a car and killed in September. The football team -- including James -- wore his initials on their helmet for the next home football game. James, a U.S. Army All-American, had scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, LSU, Florida State and North Carolina, among others. James signed with Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish on Feb. 3 after also considering Ohio State. The lineman also had looked at Florida and Cincinnati earlier in the recruiting process. "The Notre Dame football program is in a state of disbelief and incredible sadness with the news of this tragic event," Kelly said in a statement. "Matt was an extremely talented person who was very bright and possessed a great dry sense of humor. He could not wait to join the Notre Dame family."

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