A former University of Georgia football player who played in the NFL before becoming an assistant coach at Reinhardt University was among three people who died in an early morning fire Sunday in Walton County.
A 31-year-old woman and her 10-year-old daughter were also killed.
Quentin Omario Moses, 33, was found first as firefighters rushed to contain a fully engulfed house fire on Shamrock Drive in Monroe, Fire Chief Keith Glass said.
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Neighbor Melanie Anderson told Channel 2 Action News she kept seeing an orange glow through the crack in her curtains before 6 a.m. Sunday.
“And curiosity got the best of me,” Anderson said. “I pulled the curtain open and saw the flames coming out through the back of the house.”
She banged on the windows and doors, shouting that the house was on fire as she tried to get the attention of the three people inside until a man broke out a window and heavy smoke poured out as the fire department arrived.
A firefighter carried an unconscious Moses past Anderson’s 7-year-old daughter, who often played with the girl inside the home. He was pronounced dead at Clearview Medical Center.
» Photos: Quentin Moses’ UGA and NFL career
After firefighters cleared the debris from a collapsed roof, the bodies of Andria Godard, 31, and her 10-year-old daughter, Jasmine Godard, were recovered, Glass said.
“It’s hard. Really hard,” Anderson told the television station. “That was our friends, and my daughter’s friend, so I just feel really bad for her family.”
Moses was a first-team All-SEC defensive end on the University of Georgia’s SEC championship team in 2005 and played four seasons as a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins between 2007 and 2010.
As news spread of the deaths, a community of coaches and fans expressed their grief and prayers for the families.
UGA head coach Kirby Smart, who was an assistant coach when Moses was a player at Georgia, sent a tweet saying he was saddened to learn of the tragedy. “Thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this difficult time,” Smart said.
» DawgNation.com: Former Georgia football player dies in house fire
Over his career at UGA, Moses received a litany of accolades, including All-SEC First Team honors, several SEC defensive player of the week awards and Walter Camp Second-Team All-American status, among other awards.
Former UGA coach Mark Richt once called Moses, “One of the top 10 pass rushers in the history of Georgia football.”
A member of three different National Football League teams, Moses is most famous for his time with the Miami Dolphins.
“Obviously our entire program is reeling today from this tragic news,” Reinhardt athletic director Bill Popp said. “Our biggest concern today is to do anything we can to support Quentin’s family and to provide support and counseling for our student-athletes.”
Moses was serving his fifth season with Reinhardt as a defensive line coach. Reinhardt is an NAIA school located in Waleska, about an hour north of Atlanta.
President Kina S. Mallard said the school and its football team were shocked as they gathered Sunday in Waleska to discuss how to move forward.
“We want you to know that we stand with you as you grieve,” Mallard said on behalf of the school’s leadership team, the board of trustees, faculty, staff, students and friends.
Moses was an integral part of the coaching staff, head coach James Miller said.
“But more than that, he was a person who believed in our student-athletes and worked hard every day to help each athlete perform at the highest level on the field and in the classroom,” Miller said. “We will miss his leadership, and I will miss his friendship.”
Members of the community were already leaving balloons and flowers at the scene of the fire Sunday afternoon.
Averell Floyd, Andria Godard’s father and Jasmine’s grandfather, told Channel 2 he thanks God for the time he had with them. He said Moses played ball with Jasmine.
“He vowed that he would look after her,” Floyd said.
A Reinhardt University campus vigil is planned for Tuesday.