Former Clemson football running back CJ Fuller has died, Clemson confirmed in a statement Wednesday night.
Fuller was 22 years old.
“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with C.J.’s family,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “I’ve known C.J. a long time and watched him grow up through the Easley rec leagues all the way through Easley High School. I’m proud of what he accomplished as a Clemson Tiger, most of all, his accomplishment of being a Clemson graduate. Our deepest condolences and the thoughts of our program are with his family this evening. May he rest in peace.”
It was not immediately known how Fuller died. The Pickens County coroner said autopsy results won’t be available for six to eight weeks.
Fuller was a member of Clemson’s 2016 national title team and was the Tigers’ starting running back at the start of the 2017 season. He finished last year with 217 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while playing in all 14 games, with three starts.
Reaction to his death poured in Wednesday night via social media.
Former teammate Shaq Lawson, now with the Buffalo Bills, said via Instagram: “My brother I am hurting right now. Somebody wake me up from this nightmare. My brother was supposed to come see me tomorrow. I love you bruh until we meet again.”
Gamecock running back great Marcus Lattimore added on Twitter: “We are mortal. I am devastated. Praying hard right now for CJ Fuller’s family. Great human.”
Fuller was going to transfer to another school for his final season of eligibility before he and former Clemson player Jadar Johnson were then accused of robbing a former teammate in April.
Clemson co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott helped recruit Fuller to Clemson from Easley High and was his position coach from 2014 through 2017.
After the arrest, Elliott in April said: “In dealing with young people and the challenges that they have every single day, it caught me by surprise, but at the same time, they’ve got so many distractions from people pulling on them and like I tell them, it’s easier than you think to make a bad decision. It’s a lot easier and there’s a lot of examples of it every single day. ... The one thing I did tell him, I said, ‘Look, man. I love you regardless. I know there will be sometimes you do some things where I don’t like you, but I’m always going to love you and this situation is not going to determine that.”
Fuller appeared in 43 games for Clemson in the 2015-17 seasons. He had 147 career carries for 599 yards with four rushing touchdowns to go with 18 receptions for 155 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
He starred at Easley High School, where he helped lead the program to three straight playoff berths for the first time in school history. He set the Easley rushing record with 2,090 yards as a junior.