From the outside, he appeared to have it all. Julian Jones, a defensive end at Hazel Green High in Hazel Green, Alabama, was one of the top college prospects and being recruited programs around the SEC.
To many, Jones was living the dream most high school athletes aspire to.
Yet, on Monday, Jones killed himself, according to AL.com. No reason for the tragic death has been found yet.
Somebody tell me it's not true about Julian .. Somebody... I just saw him Saturday .. Lord have mercy.. RIP— Jarek Taylor (@Jarek_Taylor) October 6, 2014
A candlelight vigil in his honor was held Tuesday on the football field he roamed at Hazel Green. Those close to Jones were still asking why.
"He was a well-rounded, one of a kind guy who doesn't come around that often," Hazel Green junior Garrett Citrano told AL.com. "When I first got to know him in the sixth grade, I knew he was different from anyone I ever met. I knew he was determined and I knew he loved football."
At 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, the 16-year old junior already had scholarship offers from Mississippi State and South Carolina. He was the youngest son of former Alabama A&M University football head coach Anthony Jones.
"The Alabama A&M University family is saddened to learn of the passing of Coach Anthony Jones' son, Julian Jones," a statement from the A&M read. "Losing a loved one is always difficult, but the loss of a child is extremely difficult. As Coach Jones spent a decade at the University, Alabama A&M University still embraces the Jones Family as members of our AAMU Family. We extend condolences to Coach Jones and his family and ask all persons to keep the Jones Family in their prayers at this most difficult period."
According to the CDC, for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year. Of the reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81 percent of the deaths were males, while females made up 19 percent.
The numbers are even more daunting for those who have thought about suicide.
According to the CDC, a nationwide survey of youth in grades 9–12 in public and private schools in the United States found that 16 percent of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13 percent reported creating a plan, and 8 percent reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S.
The vigil for Jones lasted more than two hours as friends, teammates, classmates and community members paid their respects. According to Huntsville Times, hundreds lined the football field with candle in hand, telling stories about Jones.
"There's nothing anyone can say that's going to make it hurt less," Pastor Josh, the team's co-chaplain told the crowd, according to AL.com. "But what I do want you to hear is how honored I was to know Julian. And I can see from the number of people here, I wasn't the only person privileged."
What doesn't break us makes us stronger. There is no answer 4 what has happened, love your brother & fight on. pic.twitter.com/gpjZieU2d7— Coach Putnam (@MattPutnam1) October 6, 2014