SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Hampton Roads and Marshall University communities are mourning the tragic loss of former Thundering Herd player Jaquan Yulee, who died Tuesday night in a car crash in Suffolk.
Suffolk officials said police and fire-rescue units responded around 7:10 p.m. to a single-vehicle crash in the 6400 block of Leafwood Road near South Quay Road. The vehicle had flipped on its roof and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. He was the only occupant, officials said.
Police confirmed Wednesday morning the driver was Yulee.
Yulee, 24, went to Indian River and Lakeland high schools and went on to play linebacker at Marshall, joining the Herd in 2016, after originally committing to Alabama. The former 4-star recruit also had offers from Clemson, Florida, Michigan and Notre Dame.
“His energy and ability to connect with so many in our fanbase was exemplary,” Marshall’s football team wrote on Twitter. “He will be missed by so many in the Thundering Herd.”
The beloved player suffered a serious spinal injury in 2019 in the Herd’s season-opener, which left him paralyzed for two days, but he had planned to make a comeback in 2021.
WOWK reported Marshall had declared him medically ineligible to return, so Yulee had planned to transfer to one of three HBCUs: Virginia State University, Central State University and Virginia Union University.
His father, Fred Yulee told WAVY on Wednesday that just hours before his death, Yulee and he had been discussing how he would announce his choice. He had decided to make a video and release it on Friday. His father said it was to show Yulee working out then wiping the sweat off his face and pulling up his shirt to reveal the new school’s shirt. It was to be Virginia State so that he could stay close to his grandmother in Suffolk.
Janice Copeland helped raise him.
“Everybody loved him and he was genuine he wasn’t one of these ones who just did things to make a show he was just genuine,” Copeland said.
His father who was his biggest critic said he was also his son’s biggest fan.
“He was one of my best friends,” he said.
BELOW: Several of Yulee’s friends and former teammates offer condolences on social media.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.
After hearing of Yulee’s death, sports figures from the Hampton Roads and Marshall communities shared their condolences.
The investigation into Yulee’s crash remains ongoing.