ORLANDO — Ereck Plancher, a redshirt freshman receiver at Central Florida and the cousin of USF running back Moise Plancher, collapsed and died Tuesday after a conditioning workout.
Police said there was no foul play or obvious cause for the late-morning collapse. Athletic director Keith Tribble said players lifted weights, then ran for about 10 minutes.
After the workout, Plancher took a knee in obvious distress, Tribble said. UCF trainers provided CPR and he was taken to the hospital. The Naples Lely High graduate was pronounced dead just before noon.
"I know that I speak for our entire UCF family in saying that our thoughts and prayers are with Ereck's family on such a tragic day," Tribble said.
Tribble said Plancher, 19, who had also been recruited by USF but chose UCF because it was closer to home, had passed a physical. The practice was in an air-conditioned building.
"I think he wanted to be (at UCF) for his little brother," said Arnie Coones, Plancher's youth pastor and a volunteer football coach at Naples Lely. "I used to take the team out for McDonald's in high school, and Ereck's little brother always had to come along. If he wasn't already with us, we had to go pick him up. Lots of little brothers want that kind of attention but don't get it. Ereck was different. He loved his brother and always took care of him."
UCF's spring practices were scheduled to start today, but Tribble said 82 players were there for conditioning. He could not say whether coach George O'Leary was present.
"This is the most horrible experience that you'll ever go through in your life as a coach, for his family, and for everybody involved,'' USF coach Jim Leavitt said.
In 2001, UF's Eraste Autin and FSU's Devaughn Darling died after workouts. In 2007, USF's Keeley Dorsey fatally collapsed while lifting weights at the school's athletic facility.
"We all feel guilty when something like that happens,'' FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Tuesday. "You don't want to push them over the limit, but you want to push them to the limit."
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