football

Notre Dame, Kelly mourn James death

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Matt James passed away Friday after a fall from a third-floor balcony in Panama City, Fla., where the incoming freshman was on spring break.
James was just one week short of his 18th birthday on April 9.
"The Notre Dame football program is in a state of disbelief and incredible sadness with the news of this tragic event," said head coach Brian Kelly in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Matt James in this most trying of times.
"On a personal level, I got to know Matt quite well over the past few years and he was a wonderful young man from a great family. Matt was an extremely talented person who was very bright and possessed a great dry sense of humor. He could not wait to join the Notre Dame family.
"My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the James family as well as the St. Xavier High School and Cincinnati communities."
The Irish landed the four-star offensive tackle on signing day when he inked with Notre Dame over Ohio State. The U.S. Army All-American represented a coup in Brian Kelly's first class and the 6-foot-6, 291-pound prospect was a potential early contributor in South Bend.
James was a three-year starter at powerhouse St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, learning under head coach Steve Specht. The Bombers finished 9-3 last season and also featured incoming freshman Luke Massa at quarterback.
James ranked as one of the most decorated prospects in Notre Dame's incoming class. He was a USA Today first-team All-American and pegged as the nation's No. 86 prospect by Rivals.com.
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