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UAB running back Greg Bryant Jr. passes away from trauma after shooting incident

The former American Heritage HS and Notre Dame transfer was found in trauma on early Saturday morning in West Palm Beach. Instead of him returning to Birmingham today, the city mourns his passing.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Gregory Bryant Jr., a recent addition to the UAB football roster, has passed away at the age of 21 after a shooting incident on Interstate 95 near West Pam Beach, FL.

The report was confirmed by Bryant's grandmother to WPEC CBS 12 News.

Bryant, standing at 5'11", 196 lbs., was a 4-star recruit coming out of American Heritage High School in Delray Beach, and originally committed to Notre Dame. Bryant was a selection to the 2013 US Army All-American game and received 19 offers coming out of high school after a career total 3,676 rushing yards and 42 rushing touchdowns on 242 attempts. Bryant was the 19th ranked player in the Rivals 250, and the 22nd player in ESPN's Top 300 in his declared year 2013.

Bryant collected 57 rushes, 303 rushing yards, and three touchdowns in two seasons at Notre Dame at running back, finishing 2nd on the team in rushing yards in 2013 despite not starting any games. Bryant was also an excellent return weapon on special teams.

Bryant was suspended for a season due to academic ineligibility and transferred to ACA College in Miami to play a season in JUCO. Bryant announced his decision to transfer to UAB in November 2015.

Bryant was expected to be the Blazer's 1st-string rusher coming into 2017, when the football team makes its return against Alabama A&M.

West Palm Beach Police are still investigating the incident that took place on Saturday morning. If you have any information that might help investigators, call (561) 822-1900.

Our prayers and thoughts at UDD are with the Bryant family and with the family of the other victim involved in the incident.

On a prayer call this afternoon led by Timothy Alexander, a former Blazer player and now character development coach with the team, there was nothing but positive talk about Greg and how far he had come.

"He was supposed to be in my passenger seat right now," Alexander said. "I was supposed to pick him up today at the airport. He had just told me he was about to cut his hair cause he was about to do good things. He was excited about coming back... his comeback story was one like no other."

Bryant's good friend Fitz, who had been with him all week, also chimed in.

"He finally was happy," said Fitz. "He was saying 'I finally got my grades right, I'm ready.' He cut his hair, was growing up, was maturing, everything was falling back into place. I was with him through  his low days and he was talking about a comeback - started to be the Greg everybody knew he could be."

Bryant's apparent desire and readiness to get past what was holding him back makes the timing of this tragedy all the more frustrating. It also serves as a good reminder of how football really is just an escape from this greater mess called life that we're all struggling through.

Again, to all of Greg's family, friends, and teammates, we're sorry for your loss and hope you can find peace with it all someday.