The Notre Dame football team is reeling this morning with the news that star recruit Matt James died after falling from a motel balcony Friday evening. The star high school football player signed a letter of intent to play with Notre Dame in February.

Matt James (

Matt James (

Matt James’ death happened around 6:30 PM on Friday in Panama City Beach, FL. James reportedly fell from the third-floor balcony of the Days Inn Motel where he was staying on spring break. According to police reports, the 17-year-old died instantly.

“The Notre Dame football program is in a state of disbelief and incredible sadness with the news of this tragic event,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in a press statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Matt James in this most trying of times.”

“On a personal level, I got to know Matt quite well over the past few years and he was a wonderful young man from a great family. Matt was an extremely talented person who was very bright and possessed a great dry sense of humor. He could not wait to join the Notre Dame family,” Kelly said. “My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the James family as well as the St. Xavier High School and Cincinnati communities.”

An investigation has been launched into Matt James death and toxicology tests are planned.

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