Jamari Smith, an incoming freshman on the University of Alabama at Birmingham football team, drowned in a lake while swimming with friends Wednesday, according to Alabama authorities. He was 18.
“Our hearts are broken to learn about the tragic passing of Jamari Smith,” UAB coach Bill Clark said in a statement. “We want to send our deepest condolences to the entire Smith family. Jamari was an upstanding young man with an extremely bright future. Although he never played a game at UAB, he will always be a Blazer.”
He was a standout football and basketball player at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery and was set to play safety for UAB this fall.
Smith was reportedly swimming with friends at a lake in Lee County, Alabama, when he became tired and couldn’t remain afloat, according to county coroner Bill Harris, via AL.com. First responders retrieved Smith from underwater before he was pronounced dead at East Alabama Medical Center.
Harris also said there was no foul play suspected and that the case is being treated as an accidental drowning.
Smith graduated from high school earlier this year and was a member of the 2020 Alabama state champion basketball team.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must confirm the passing of our beloved Jamari ‘Chop’ Smith @jayy_promp23,” the Lee High School basketball team’s Twitter account wrote. “We ask for you to pray for his family. We also ask that you give them privacy at this time. Chop we love you always.”
This isn’t the first tragedy to happen to a former athlete from Lee High School. A former quarterback, Shaquille Johnson, was shot and killed in 2018, while another basketball player, Rod Scott, died in a car accident in 2016.