Remembering Ruben Narcisse, 1991-2010
You probably don't know Ruben Narcisse. Perhaps readers who closely follow USF recruiting remember the promising linebacker from Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood, who visited the Bulls in January with his close friend and teammate, fellow linebacker Hans Louis, who is now a USF freshman.
Narcisse died at age 19 early Monday morning, when a truck driven by one of his teammates drifted off a Colorado highway, not far from the Wyoming border. Narcisse, a freshman at Wyoming, was killed in the accident; his three teammates were injured but are expected to recover.
Narcisse wanted very much to come to USF -- he wasn't able to get the scholarship offer Louis got, so he took the Wyoming offer, and we kept in touch in the months that followed, with Ruben sending me a text every few weeks, asking what I thought of Wyoming, if he'd made the right decision. We talked about the young talent returning on the Cowboys' roster, about how Wyoming had edged Fresno State in its bowl game, how beyond the fact that he was going to a far-off state like Wyoming, he had a great opportunity and should embrace it.
In July, he needed to interview a journalist for a class assignment, so he sent me 10 questions about my job. He had good, smart questions, with better perspective than I expected from a college freshman. "How does your career effect your family?" he wrote. "What do you enjoy about your job the most?" In answering his questions, I realized I probably don't ask myself those questions enough.
Narcisse was appreciative of my responses, and that was the last time we talked, some two months ago. I've found in the last year or so that few things seem sadder than the Facebook page of a young man or woman who has died unexpectedly. It's a snapshot of how much they enjoyed their life -- Narcisse had updated his profile picture to show him on the sidelines, wearing his new No. 12 Wyoming jersey -- he didn't play in Saturday's opener, but the Cowboys won. He'd left his home state, but his heart was still at home -- his final update on Sunday said "FLORIDA FOOTBALL ALL DAY EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
His Facebook wall is testimony to the friends he leaves behind, with dozens and dozens sending him a message as they might any other day. I feel terrible for Louis, whose own profile picture has him and Narcisse together in their Chaminade-Madonna jerseys. The two were close enough that might have been his pic all summer and it wouldn't surprise me at all. Much like Keeley Dorsey and Bradley Mosley and other USF players lost far too soon, his was a good story long before he died. We'll read much more about him in the coming days, I'm sure, but I'm thankful to have the chance to get to know him, if only a little bit, and better for it.