Ex-Notre Dame RB Greg Bryant, 21, dies from gunshot wound

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Those around Greg Bryant in the past few months saw a man who cherished daily a second chance at a college degree and a football career.

On Sunday, that promising, new reality came to a tragic end for the former Notre Dame running back. A day after being shot in a car on a south Florida interstate, Bryant died in a West Palm Beach, Fla., hospital.

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, the 21-year-old Bryant remained in critical condition and in intensive care at St. Mary’s Medical Center, according to a tweet from Nick LaSala, an assistant coach at Bryant's high school, American Heritage. It had been widely reported Saturday afternoon that Bryant had died.

On Sunday afternoon at around 1 p.m., he did after fighting for his life through the night. LaSala tweeted the news early in the afternoon. A report from WPEC, a CBS TV affiliate in Palm Beach, followed citing confirmation from the family.

The Palm Beach Post on Sunday afternoon reported the shooting investigation has been reclassified as a homicide. Police continue to seek witnesses and so far have not identified any suspects.

“This is just such a sad an tragic situation," ND head coach Brian Kelly said Sunday in a statement. "My thoughts and prayers, as well as everyone associated with Notre Dame and its football program, are with Greg’s family at this incredibly difficult time.” 

UAB, where Bryant has been a student since January, issued a series of press releases Saturday afternoon seemingly confirming the death, but Blazers coach Bill Clark early Saturday evening released a revised statement and explanation.

“We understand our running back, Greg Bryant, is still fight for his life in a Florida hospital following injuries he sustained in a shooting earlier (Saturday),” Clark’s statement read.

“The condolences we expressed earlier (Saturday) were based on information a family member at the hospital provided and gave us permission to release. We remain steadfast as a Blazer family in our prayers and support for Greg and his family at this difficult time.”

There was a deluge of support from past and present Notre Dame coaches and players on Twitter, including all four scholarship QBs on the Irish roster and former Irish quarterback Everett Golson.

And then a deluge of grief.

Bryant, from Delray Beach, Fla., and another man were found shot in a car about 4:45 a.m., Saturday in the southbound lanes of I-95 Saturday, per West Palm Beach police. A Palm Beach Post report said that the men were taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center with gunshot wound injuries.

According to the report, Bryant was the driver of the car. The passenger, 25-year-old Maurice Grover, also of Delray Beach, sustained minor injuries.

Bryant, a former five-star prospect, was looking for a new beginning at a resurrecting UAB football program following a turbulent two years at Notre Dame and a season at a Florida junior college.

He was first suspended last June for ND’s first four games of the 2015, then in August declared academically ineligible for the entire 2015 season.

Kelly initially was hopeful Bryant would enroll in classes at ND in the fall with the intent of regaining his eligibility in 2016. Bryant’s father, Greg Bryant Sr., intimated his son would do just that.

But shortly thereafter and much to his father’s apparent surprise, Bryant enrolled at ASA Miami, a fledgling junior college football program.

According to ASA College of Miami's website, the 5-foot-10, 205-pound junior running back played in just one game for the Silver Storm, rushing nine times for 77 yards while adding 152 punt return yards and 78 kick return yards.

In his two seasons at Notre Dame, Bryant rushed for a total of 303 yards and scored three touchdowns. He finished second on the team with 289 rushing yards in 2014, while leading Irish running backs with 5.4 yards per carry. He also contributed in special teams with 179 return yards.

He received a medical redshirt year for the 2013 season in which he played sparingly before a knee injury truncated that season.

Bryant in January landed at UAB, which dissolved its football program but will begin competing again in 2017, what would have been Bryant’s final season of college eligibility.

In the months that followed Bryant’s departure from Notre Dame, he constantly posted pictures in Instagram of himself in his old Notre Dame No. 1 uniform. In between the lines of the words posted with it, you got a sense he knew what he let slip away.

And the opportunity that was unfolding for him at UAB.

On March 31, Bryant tweeted from his Twitter account, “God got a plan.”

Last time we took the field over together. Pray you look over me and give me the strength to finish what we started pic.twitter.com/TrKgS3Nyve

— Malik Zaire (@Lucky9Lefty) May 8, 2016

The hard fight is over. Prayers to your family and friends, Rest in Peace GB

— Corey Robinson (@CoreyRobinson13) May 8, 2016

Rest in peace Bro! @GregBryantJr2 got got you now! Fly high! pic.twitter.com/b03g3mTu1d

— Jarron Jones™ (@Who_GotJones94) May 8, 2016

I love you lil bro GB4 life ! Look over us pic.twitter.com/rgDVoSwMvN

— Will Mahone (@Wmahone4) May 8, 2016

RIP Greg Bryant prayers up for you and your family

— Elijah Hood 3⃣4⃣ (@So_Hood34) May 8, 2016

May the Lord be at the gates with open arms waiting for you. Rest in peace with no more suffering. You'll be missed GB.

— Kyle Brindza (@kyle_brindza) May 8, 2016

My heartfelt prayers to Greg Bryant's family on his passing. Although he transferred he was still a part of the ND Football family #RIP

— Reggie Brooks (@RegBrooks40) May 8, 2016

Damn Rest Easy GB

— FlexFor6 (@DexterW_22) May 8, 2016

R.I.P to the realest ✊ ✊ pic.twitter.com/h2YsBRx2RN

— John Montelus (@big_john_60) May 8, 2016

Beautiful thing to see how many hearts GB touched. He's with God now, away from this filthy world we live in. Rest easy brotha ☝

— Alizé Jones (@AlizeJones8) May 8, 2016

Rest easy GB. Prayers out to you and your family brother pic.twitter.com/Uj28zFvAPH

— Nicky Baratti (@NickyBaratti) May 8, 2016

Rest easy, GB

— Mike McGlinchey (@BigGlinch68) May 8, 2016

Also sending my prayers to the Bryant family. Mrs. Bryant your son was a incredible talent and even better person! I'll always remember u 4.

— DaVaris Daniels (@SincerelyToot) May 8, 2016

Rest in Paradise brother pic.twitter.com/AYYBiZ6EuU

— Lyler Tuatua (@Luatua13) May 8, 2016

R I P GB. pic.twitter.com/QE00tqzjH2

— Armando Allen Jr (@ArmandoAllenJr) May 8, 2016

RIP GB pray for family finds strength & guidance , Give Altee a hug for me . #LongliveGB4 LongLive28 pic.twitter.com/Z1CRhgqhUY

— Derrick Henry  (@KingHenry_2) May 8, 2016

#RIP Greg Bryant #GoneTooSoonpic.twitter.com/doqw3xCsiG

— The Opening (@TheOpening) May 8, 2016

RIP GB

— CJ Sanders (@TheLifeofCeej) May 8, 2016

Forever young. Rest easy GB pic.twitter.com/z56a1ylUE6

— DK (@DKizer_14) May 8, 2016

RIP my brother. https://t.co/Ldw9Im2vIn

— Montgomery VanGorder (@MBVG4) May 8, 2016

Sometimes it's hard to understand, but God has a greater plan. You will be greatly missed! Rest easy GB

— Jacob Matuska (@moosey2taasty) May 8, 2016

My prayers and condolences to the Bryant family. Rest in peace GB.

— Amir Carlisle (@Solarbot3) May 8, 2016

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of 2013 #ArmyBowl RB Greg Bryant. RIP. pic.twitter.com/2caefPOfiZ

— #ArmyBowl (@ArmyAllAmerican) May 8, 2016

Rest easy up there bud

— Brandon Wimbush (@WimbushB12) May 8, 2016

Former Notre Dame running back Greg Bryant was shot Saturday in West Palm Beach, Fla. and is in critical condition at a south Florida hospital.(Tribune Photo/GREG SWIERCZ)