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St. Xavier and Notre Dame mourn Matt James

Apr 3, 2010, 11:32 AM EDT

Both St. Xavier High School and Notre Dame released statements on the death of Matt James.

From St. Xavier:

St. Xavier High School students gathered in the night to mourn the
loss of one of their own April 2, following word that senior Matt James
died in a spring break accident in Panama City, Florida, on Good Friday.

Several hundred students, faculty and friends joined in a circle at
midfield of St. Xavier Stadium where James earned notoriety as an
immense and immensely talented football player. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound
offensive lineman signed a letter of intent on Feb. 2 to play football
at the University of Notre Dame.

Holding lit candles, teammates, classmates and admirers shared
stories of their memories of James before praying together.

“It’s amazing how quickly the word spread and how quickly the
community came together,” said Mark Motz, St. X director of
communications and publications. “Lyrics in our alma mater say ‘we are
Xavier men forever,’ and I think this gathering showed how much these
guys take that to heart. For this many people to appear on the first
night of spring break is a testament both to Matt and to the strength of
the St. X community in difficult times.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the James family in this horrific
time of loss. The entire James family – immediate and extended – has
always been good to St. X. We hope we can be of comfort in their time of
need. We are a faith community and this certainly is a test of that
faith, but we will get through it together. We are all devastated by the
news, but grateful for the gift of having had Matt as a Xavier man.”

James was an all-city and all-state football player for the Bombers.
He anchored the offensive line and helped the team win its fourth
consecutive Greater Catholic League South title this past season. James
played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 9 in San Antonio, Texas.
In addition to his football prowess, James was a member of the St. X
varsity basketball team that recently finished the season as district
champion.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

From Notre Dame:

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Future University
of Notre Dame
student-athlete Matt
James died Friday evening
after falling from a third-floor balcony at a
hotel in Panama City, Fla.

James, a 17-year-old senior at Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School, signed a
letter of intent on Feb. 3 to join the Fighting Irish football team. He
was
on spring break with friends when the accident occurred.

“The Notre Dame
football program
is in a state of disbelief and incredible
sadness with the news of this tragic event,” Notre Dame head football coach
Brian Kelly said.
“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
.”

James was named to USA Today’s first-team prep All-America team
following
his senior season and received All-America accolades from MaxPreps and
SuperPrep. A three-year starter for head coach Steve Specht at St. Xavier,
James participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and also played
basketball at St. Xavier.
 
Funeral arrangements have not been made but UND.com
will be updated with
them once they are available.

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