SNELLVILLE, Ga. - Hundreds of people filled a Snellville church Wednesday morning to remember the life of a football star cut short.
Nick Blakely passed away suddenly last week after collapsing on the practice field at Stetson University. Blakely was a 2016 graduate of Archer High School in Gwinnett County.
"1 Corinthians 13:13 says, these three things shall remain faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love. And Nick embodied that," said Archer Football Coach Andy Dyer.
Coaches, classmates and friends remembered Blakely as a fierce competitor and man of caring and faith.
"You always have your doubts about yourself, but Nick he believed in me," said Jeremiah Nails, Blakely's former roommate and teammate at both Archer and Stetson. "I mean, he believe that I could be the best and after our scrimmage he told me how proud of me he was. I just, I love Nick and I wish he was still here."
Those close to Blakely said he had an amazing zest for life and his smile and laugh were contagious.
"That smile did light up the room," recalled Dylan Singleton. "He was always smiling. His laugh--he had a unique laugh that stuck out more than anybody else's. So, yeah, he was just a great person to be around."
Blakely's parents said the outpouring of support from the community has helped them cope during this difficult time.
"Football was Nick's life and so, everybody said that and so, that's such a tribute, but to say how much he impacted everyone, how much he touched lives. I will always remember that," said Michelle Wilson, Blakely's mother.