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‘Why Darius?’ Friends Mourn Death of UMaine Football Player

The sudden death of a University of Maine football player at a team practice Tuesday has shaken the campus community in Orono, as well as the player's home in Orange County, Virginia.

Darius Minor, an 18-year-old freshman political science major, collapsed on the field and died during a light workout.

"Why Darius? Out of everybody, it just makes no sense to us right now," said high school classmate Aizaya Evans. "I miss him already."

According to UMaine football coach Joe Harasymiak, freshman players were starting a light workout on the football field Tuesday afternoon. The players completed one drill, and were taking a water break on the hot and humid day. Harasymiak said Minor said he felt like he might pass out — and moments later, he did. He could not be resuscitated.

"There's no script for this," said Harasymiak in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "I told the team this morning this is way bigger than football. This is the most adverse situation we will be in together."

The Maine State Medical Examiner is performing an autopsy on Minor's body and has not yet released a cause of death. Harasymiak said the teen passed all of the required physical examinations before playing for UMaine. Friends say he appeared to be the picture of health.

"This was a dream for him [to play college football," said Harasymiak, voice cracking from emotion. "This is where he wanted to be."

Hours before his death, Minor tweeted about his excitement for the upcoming football season. "I'm coming for everything this year," the tweet said.

"Truly blessed," he tweeted after committing to play football at UMaine last February. "Can't wait to see what god has in store for me."

Friends describe Minor as hard-working, focused, and someone everyone looked up to and wanted to be around.

"He was like our local superstar," said Orange County High School football coach Jesse Lohr. "We loved him, and will always."

UMaine's football coach said he will be retiring Minor's #39 jersey for the next four years.

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