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Southern Miss Football Starter Was Killed in Shooting

Photo: Chris Graythen

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles defensive back Marcus 'MJ' Daniels has died at the age of 21 after being killed in a shooting at a Hattiesburg apartment complex Tuesday (June 11) night, a coroner confirmed to the Associated Press.

Daniels' body was sent to a medical examiner to undergo an autopsy, Forrest County Coroner Lisa Klem told reporters while addressing the incident on Wednesday (June 12). The 21-year-old was the Golden Eagles' starting cornerback in 2023, recording a team-best three interceptions, as well as 29 tackles in 12 games, but was moved to and projected to start at the safety position ahead of the 2024 season, the Hattiesburg American reported.

Southern Miss head coach Will Hall and other university officials were present at the scene of the shooting alongside police and emergency workers, WDAM reported. The Southern Miss Department of Athletics confirmed Daniels' death in a news release shared on its official website.

"The University of Southern Mississippi and the Department of Athletics mourn the loss of M.J. Daniels whose life was lost Tuesday evening during an incident that occurred off campus. We send our sincere condolences to his family, friends and teammates during this difficult time," the department said.

"The University of Southern Mississippi Student Counseling Services has been made available to members of the Golden Eagle football program and individuals close to the university. Out of respect for the family and all impacted in this matter, the University and Athletic Department will have no further comment at this time." the department added.

Daniels spent his first two collegiate seasons at Ole Miss before transferring to Southern Miss in 2023, having rated as a consensus four-star prospect and ranking as the No. 25 athlete, No. 7 player from the state of Mississippi and No. 382 overall prospect for the 2021 national recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.

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