Lowcountry football standout, USC recruit drowns

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - A standout Berkeley High School football player was pronounced dead Monday night after he drowned in Lake Moultrie.

According to the Berkeley County Coroner's Office, 19-year-old Rahkeem White, of Moncks Corner, jumped feet first off the diving board at Somerset Point in Pinopolis and did not surface.

An off duty lifeguard and a bystander went into the water and located White around 6:15 p.m. CPR was started and Berkeley County EMS transported White to a local emergency room where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Somerset Point, where the incident occurred, is a Santee Cooper employee's recreation area.

The drowning is under investigation by the Berkeley County Coroner's Office and the Santee Cooper Law Enforcement Agency. Coroner Bill Salisbury says so far the investigation has revealed there were no marks or trauma to White's body. He says no autopsy has been scheduled, and at this time it has been ruled an accidental drowning.

White is a recent graduate of Berkeley High School and was a standout running back. He helped the Stags win the 2009 AAAA-Division 2 state championship, and was a 2010 North-South All-Star.  White was going to play football at St. Augustine's College in the Raleigh, NC area in the fall.

White's death comes less than 10 months after his good friend, and fellow standout on offense, D.J. Weathers died in a car accident. In May, White left this message on Weather's Facebook Memorial page:

"I told you Bubba, I will never let you down, and I promised you that I was going to live my dream and your dream at the same time. Now when I put on that Garnet and Black in January, I'm going to do it for you. I love you man,  rest on Bubba," White wrote.

Now a memorial page has been created for Rahkeem White. More than a thousand followers have already connected, posting their condolences, favorite memorials, and favorite pictures.

Dr. Jerry Brown, who coached White for three years at the varsity level, told Live 5 Sports White was the best defensive player they had in the 2010 season, even though they didn't use him much on that side of the ball. And Brown, who is now the Athletic Director at Fairfield Central, added White turned his life around on and off the field after Weather passed away.  He said he had never seen such a dynamic change in one of his players.

Current Stags head coach Jeff Cruce, who took the Berkeley head coaching and AD job earlier this spring, said the weight room will be open on Tuesday for his players. He says they will try to take a business-as-usual approached, but that he and his coaching staff will be there for any of his players who need help dealing with White's death.

"He was a great athlete, a great role model for these young kids. The legacy that he left behind is one of his work ethic and the thing that these kids needs to learn," Coach Cruce said. "There's not a lot of places that you could go to that have had tragedies so close together. This community just pulls together. When you lose somebody this close and this young, it's devastating."

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