Georgia Southern football player dies at 18

Coroner: Evidence indicates Georgia Southern football player died of drug overdose

A freshman offensive lineman at Georgia Southern University died Monday night after he was found unresponsive in his dorm room.

Jordan Wiggins, 18, played at Godby High School in Tallahassee, Florida, before he enrolled at Georgia Southern this fall with the intent of majoring in electrical engineering, according to the university’s football roster. He was scheduled to redshirt this season.

Wiggins was located Monday after a family member requested a wellness check, a spokesman for the university said. He was taken to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, where he died. 

An official cause of death is pending toxicology results, Bulloch County Coroner Jake Futch told AJC.com. 

“The immediate evidence indicates that he took his own life due to a drug overdose,” he said Wednesday.

Tom Kleinlein, the director of Athletics at Georgia Southern, said in a statement the football program was “devastated to learn of Jordan’s passing.”

“Although he has only been on campus for a few months, Jordan has left an indelible mark on our program,” he said. “He was a great person, a great teammate and a great friend to the entire Georgia Southern community. Our deepest condolences and heartfelt thoughts go out to the Wiggins family, and all those who knew and loved Jordan.”


 

In high school, Wiggins was named to the All-Big Bend first team by the Tallahassee Democrat. He was selected youth of the year by the Capital Outlook, a weekly newspaper based in Tallahassee, for his work on and off the field.

Wiggins’ mother, Althea Jones, died in 2017, and he spent his senior year of high school living with the mother of his football coach, Brandon McCray, the Democrat reported. 

"That was like my adopted son," McCray told the newspaper. "I coached with him for two years and against all his brothers for years. I'm still in shock. I don't know what to think.”

The GBI is investigating Wiggins’ death, which is the university’s protocol in student deaths.

“My heart is broken for Jordan, his family, our team and this university,” head football coach Chad Lunsford said in a statement. “Jordan was a great Georgia Southern man with a bright future. His time on Earth was short, but we know that there is a greater plan, and we must trust that. 

“If he was indeed struggling with some personal issues, I wish the resources that we currently provide our students could have helped more.”

Counseling services are available to all Georgia Southern students, faculty and staff, university officials said. Counseling centers on the Statesboro and the Armstrong campus are open 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The centers may also be reached by phone during business hours. 

Georgia Southern is encouraging anyone who may be considering suicide or knows someone who is to call university police at 912-478-5234 at any time. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 or text “HOME” to 741741. 

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