Ex-Gator Found Dead

Avery Atkins

After what looked to be a promising career, former Gator cornerback Avery Atkins was found dead Thursday morning.

Out of Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland, Avery Atkins was a member of the Florida football team in 2005 and a high school All-American. He was one of the top players in Urban Meyer's first recruiting class at Florida, but his career was plagued with off-the-field issues. Last summer he was involved in a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend, leading him to ask Meyer for his release from the Gators.

Police say Atkins was found dead early this morning in his car that was parked in the garage of his home. There appeared to be no physical injury, and police have not said if the car was running. Earlier this week, Atkins was arrested for drug possession, his third arrest in the last few months.

"We are saddened to hear the news regarding Avery," Meyer said. "We share our grief with the Atkins' family and those close to them."

As a freshman, Atkins played in all 12 games, posting nine total tackles. He also picked off a pass and recovered a fumble against Florida State. He was expected to start for the Gators last season.

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