BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB football is mourning the loss of one of it’s own today. Wednesday afternoon, UAB signee Jamari Smith drowned at Chewacla State Park in Auburn after swimming with friends. According to Lee County Coroner Bill Harris, Smith was swimming with friends, apparently became tired, and went under the water.
The 18-year-old was a standout football and basketball player for Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery and led the Generals to a 7A state basketball championship this past year. Smith was set to play safety for the Blazers.
“Obviously, people say what kind of competitor he was on the court and what kind of athlete we were getting, but just a guy with a smile on his face. His parents were very involved and we were excited about him coming to us so we’re just heartbroken for them,” said UAB football coach Bill Clark. "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.”
There is no word yet on when funeral arrangements will be, but the Lee Athletics Director Tyrone Rogers says they are planning to hold a special ceremony for Smith at graduation next week.