Former University of Florida football player Chris Johnson was found dead on Friday. He was just 22-years-old.
Johnson played out his senior year of football at Duquesne University in Pennsylvania. The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office reported that Johnson was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“Everyone associated with the Duquesne football program is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Chris,” Duquesne football coach Jerry Schmitt said in a statement. “Chris was a passionate football player who was also a great teammate, who was loved by many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Chris’ family at this difficult time.”
Chris Johnson was found in a car in in Churchill, Pennsylvania, at 10:59 a.m. on Friday morning. The young man from Ocala, Florida, had his his death ruled as a suicide by the medical examiner.
— Dominique Easley (@DominiqueEasley) March 1, 2015
Justin Wentworth was Johnson’s defensive coordinator when he was at Trinity Catholic High school. He spoke with Ocala and could not believe the news he had heard as he just recently spoke with Johnson, nicknamed “Juice,” this past week.
“I’m trying to peel it back as best I can,” said Justin Wentworth, Johnson’s defensive coordinator while at Trinity Catholic. “Nobody will ever know. When I texted with him on Wednesday, it was all good. You wouldn’t have known anything. You ask how everything’s going. How’s life? How are classes going?
“He said everything was going good — typical upbeat, Juice stuff. Getting this news hurts deep. It’s a knife to the heart.”
Chris Johnson played well for the University of Florida and his last game with the school was the 2013 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Florida lost to Louisville and Johnson was ejected in the second half after throwing a punch after an onside kick.
He went on to transfer to Duquesne University and played well at defensive back. Johnson finished his senior season with 55 tackles.
Johnson got the nickname “Juice” from friends in high school because they said his running style mirrored that of O.J. Simpson. While at Florida, he played at both running back and defensive back for the Gators. In 2012, he carried five times for 35 yards.
It’s sad news, but former Florida Gators’ football player Chris Johnson has lost his life at the young age of 22.
[Image via University of Florida Athletics]