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Avery Atkins, 1987-2007

I left for the holiday Tuesday with an uplifting note about an overachiever's success at Florida, and come back today with the exact opposite news: talented but perpetually troubled UF cornerback Avery Atkins was found dead this morning.

A few outlets acknowledged Atkins' arrest for possession of crack cocaine and paraphernalia on Monday, his fifth arrest since the beginning of 2006 for offenses ranging from domestic violence to an initial crack and weapons charge last month. He was kicked off Florida's soon-to-be championship team last summer, transferred to Bethune-Cookman long enough to play in three games, later re-enrolled at UF without a scholarship, and was out of school again when it was clear his grades would never allow him back into major college football.

There was a terrible line in hindsight in the above-linked Daytona Beach News-Journal article Tuesday on Atkins' latest arrest:

Atkins, 20, was released on $1,000 bail and did not immediately return phone calls made to his aunt's home. His most recent known cell phone number is no longer in service.

Sadly, via EDSBS,  comes this morning's tragic conclusion:

PORT ORANGE, Fla. -- Avery Atkins, a former Florida Gator football player, was found dead inside a car in a garage in Port Orange on Thursday morning, according to officials.

The cause of death is not yet known, but investigators said they are not investigating the death as a homicide.

According to detectives, Atkins' aunt discovered her nephew's body and called police. Atkins was transported to Halifax Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to officials.

So goes a gifted kid with a chance, seemingly bent from the start on self-destruction. Condolences to his family and friends.