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Former Clemson Football Player C.J. Fuller Dies Suddenly at 22

C.J. Fuller, the former running back for Clemson University, died suddenly on Wednesday, the school confirms. He was 22.

Fuller’s cause of death is not clear at this time.

The Pickens County coroner in South Carolina told The State newspaper that autopsy results would take six to eight weeks.

Following the young athlete’s death, Clemson Football Head Coach Dabo Swinney released a statement on behalf of the “heartbroken” football program.

“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with C.J.’s family,” Swinney wrote. “I’ve known C.J. a long time and watched him grow up through the Easley rec leagues all the way through Easley High School.”

“I’m proud of what he accomplished as a Clemson Tiger, most of all, his accomplishment of being a Clemson graduate,” he continued. “Our deepest condolences and the thoughts of our program are with his family this evening. May he rest in peace.”

Prior to his passing, Fuller was not playing football, despite having another year of eligibility after redshirting in his rookie year. According to ESPN, the athlete announced in February that he was planning to play elsewhere as a graduate transfer.

However, in March, he was arrested and charged with armed robbery, along with former Clemson teammate Jadar Johnson and former Duke lineman Quaven Ferguson, reports Clemson Sports Talk. The three men allegedly forced their way by gunpoint into a person’s apartment in Downtown Clemson.

Our program is heartbroken this evening to learn of the passing of C.J. Fuller.

— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) October 4, 2018

During his collegiate career, Fuller appeared in 43 total games for the Tigers across the 2015-2017 seasons. Considered an “impact contributor” by the athletics program, he helped Clemson to three consecutive ACC Championships and College Football Playoff appearances.

In 2016, during the National Championship, Fuller’s speed and agility helped contribute to the game-winning drive against Alabama. The victory became just the second national title Clemson had won, since their first in 1981.

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He also helped his Easley High School football team make history by reaching the state playoffs for three consecutive years, prior to his time at Clemson. The program posted a tribute to Fuller after learning of the devastating news on Wednesday.

The Green Wave family is heartbroken tonight. Rest in peace brother, son, teammate, friend, legend #24 CJ Fuller.

— Easley Football (@EasleyFB) October 4, 2018

In addition to the football programs, Fuller’s former teammates, coaches, and friends have been speaking out on social media, remembering him for his impact both on and off the field.

Among those tributes was Shaq Lawson, who now plays in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills. Lawson shared several photos of his friend — who he was supposed to see Thursday — and called his sudden death a “nightmare.”

“My brother I am hurting right now,” he wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. “Somebody wake me up from this nightmare. My brother was supposed to come see me tomorrow. I love you bruh until we meet again #27 4L🐍🙏🏿😔

View this post on Instagram

My brother I am hurting right now. Somebody wake me up from this nightmare. My brother was supposed to come see me tomorrow. I love you bruh until we meet again #27 4L🐍🙏🏿😔

A post shared by Shaq Lawson (@shaqlawson) on Oct 3, 2018 at 5:30pm PDT


Loved ones also turned to Clemson’s local newspaper to remember Fuller and his positive energy.

“Person-wise, a fantastic young man,” Chad Smith, one of his former high school coaches told The State. “He had an infectious personality, a smile that would light up a room.”

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“A hard-working young man, a very positive young man,” continued Smith. “The kid never had a frown on his face. Just a great, great kid.”

Added former teammate D.J. Greenlee: “We’re like brothers. We’ve had a bond. Our bond was a lot more than just being at Clemson. It just puts life into perspective… You can be here one day and gone the next.”

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