GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A viewing will be held Tuesday for Nick Blakely, a Stetson University defensive linebacker and former Archer High School standout who died last week after collapsing at practice.
Blakely, 19, was on the sidelines shortly after practice started on August 28 when he said he wasn't feeling well, and then collapsed. He was rushed to Florida Hospital DeLand, and later died.
"I talked to Nick yesterday and he said, 'Mother, I'm fine.' But that was Nick," said Blakely's mother, Michelle Wilson.
Stetson University shared the devastating news on the school's athletics website, gohatters.com, where a memorial photo honoring Blakely's life was placed at the top of the page.
Wilson and Blakely's father, Milton Blakely, said their son was as dedicated student and athlete.
"It's very odd that this would happen like this, because he spent so much time training and you know, it's hard to see this," explained Milton Blakely. "It's very difficult."
Blakely was a three-year letter winner under Archer High School's coach, Andy Dyer. He was a running back and safety.
"Our hearts are broken with the loss of Nicholas. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his Archer family and his Stetson football family," said Coach Dyer in a statement. "Nick has had a huge impact on many people and we are going to miss his great spirit and his million dollar smile."
Blakely was a sophomore at Stetson, where he was majoring in accounting. He was redshirted in 2016 and was preparing for his first college football season.
The viewing will be held from noon until 8 p.m. at Gregory P. Levett Funeral Home in Snellville. Blakely's funeral will take place Wednesday morning at Stone Church in Snellville.
A fundraising page has been set up to help Blakely's family: https://www.gofundme.com/4cbal34.