ORLANDO — A star high school football who had signed to play for Louisville was fatally shot late Saturday, Orlando police said.
Dexter Rentz Jr. tied a state record in 2017 when he intercepted five passes in a single game while playing as a sophomore at Ocoee High School, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
At 11:19 p.m. Saturday, police responded to a report of shots fired in the area of Elese Street and Deerock Drive in Orlando, the Sentinel reported. Four people were shot, with Rentz the only fatality. Very few other details of what led to the shooting have been released., and no arrests had been made as the investigation continued.
An outpouring of grief on social media paid tribute to Rentz, who was looking forward to becoming a Louisville Cardinal as a wide receiver.
“I got the phone call today about some sad news about the loss of one of my (nine) guys that have signed on to play college football,” Ocoee assistant coach Henry Anderson wrote on Facebook at 2:17 a.m. Sunday. “Not only (have) I lost a good kid but lost a brother.”
Louisville coach Scott Satterfield lamented Rentz’s death in a statement Sunday:
“We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dexter Rentz. He was a great young man who had a contagious personality, and was able to light up a room with his smile. He was a great kid to be around, and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Rentz family during this extremely difficult time.”
When he announced some of his new recruits in February, Cardinals assistant coach Gunter Brewer called Rentz “a great kid” whom he looked forward to coaching, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Rentz had signed with Louisville last June, the paper said, citing a radio interview in which he said his goal in his final year of high school was to grow as a leader and help “the young guys see that there’s more to it than football.”
“To live life to the fullest & to have it end so suddenly puts family into perspective,” Rentz tweeted Sunday. “Dex will always be a member of the Cardinal family & a Freak4Life. He remains a light in dark times.”
Rentz chose Louisville over Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Rutgers, among others.
Rentz, a cornerback/slot receiver, and Ocoee teammate Lovie Jenkins signed with Louisville in December. Rentz burst on the scene as a sophomore. Filling in for an injured teammate, Rentz saw his first extended varsity action and came up big, tying a state record with five interceptions in the game. He scored 15 touchdowns this past season and totaled almost 2,000 yards during his high school career.
Rentz and Jenkins were due to take their official recruiting visit to Louisville during the weekend of May 10 and enroll at the school in June.
Jenkins posted on Twitter early Sunday: “Forever I gotcha brotha.” He posted again about four hours later. “I promise working harder than I ever did.”
Former Florida and NFL cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, now on staff with the Gators as an assistant director of player personnel, knew Rentz from his time as part of Ratliff’s Rat Pak 7-on-7 teams.
“I’m sitting here staring at your picture wishing I didn’t get that call,” Ratliff posted on Twitter. “Dexter Rentz was a young man full of positive energy and good vibes who always had a smile on his face. He will be truly missed by his family and everyone who ever met him.”
It’s the second tragedy the Cardinals football program has had in the past month. In late March, the father of receiver Corey Reed died from complications brought on by COVID-19.
Information from the Orlando Sentinel contributed to this report.