PONTOTOC COUNTY, MS (WMC) - A student at North Pontotoc High School in Mississippi died suddenly just hours after finishing football practice.
A flag flies at half-staff above the school's football field in honor of rising senior Ty Rayford.
"It's overwhelming," family friend Pat Young said. "I feel for the family. I can only imagine what they might be going through at a time like this."
Rayford's friends and family describe him as a gentle giant. He stood 6-foot-5 and weighed 330 pounds.
His death came as a shock to those who knew him. He was just three weeks away from playing the first game of the season.
"This is a real tough time for them right now," Young said. "I'm just praying for them. I just ask everybody to be doing the same."
The coroner is still working to determine how Rayford died.
His family was too heartbroken to speak publicly Tuesday.
Instead, his principal, Brian Sutton, released the following statement:
The school district will honor Rayford's memory Tuesday night: