COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Faculty, students, friends, family, and football fans of River Bluff High School are waking up to the news that one of their own passed away Wednesday night during practice.
Lewis Simpkins, 14, was rushed to Lexington Medical Center after collapsing on the practice field. He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Simpkins, according to various high school football websites, was a 6'2", 270-pound nose guard and defensive end with the River Bluff Gators.
RELATED: Watch Simpkins' football highlights.
Among defensive ends in South Carolina, he was ranked No. 50, according to MaxPreps.
Simpkins was also being trained by Midlands training group Athlete's Arena. Simpkins' personal trainer, Jason Brunson, described him as a bright kid with an even brighter future.
Lewis was playing baseball at the time when the two instantly connected. Brunson says the 14-year-old was talented, well-mannered, and had an old soul in a big kid's body.
"The first few times he was in the gym, he got that 'Oh, that kid's 14?' look," Brunson said. "No one would believe it. Actually, he was 13 at the time. He worked hard to change his body over the past year-and-a-half, two years."
Brunson said those who didn't know Simpkins simply "missed out" on a great guy.
"He was a kid you'll never forget," Brunson said. "I'll never forget the first time he came in here, decked out in Clemson gear. He always had Clemson gear. He loved Clemson. That was his dream -- to play at Clemson one day."