Jamaine Stephens, College Football Tackle, Dies Of COVID-19

Written by Madison J. Gray

A star football player at California University of Pennsylvania has died of COVID-19 complications, the school announced Tuesday (Sept. 8).

Jamaine Stephens, 20, a junior defensive tackle and son of retired Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Jamaine Stephens, was preparing to enter his senior season at the school. Known by his nickname “Juice,” he was also an honors student and business administration major, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Jamain was such a wonderful student with a smile on his face every time you saw him,” California athletic director Dr. Karen Hjerpe said in a press release. “His personality was contagious and he made such a positive impact on everyone he met.”

Stephens played in 32 games for Cal U from 2017-2019, according to the university’s website.

“He was such a positive person that really cared about everyone,” said A.J. Beatty, Stephens teammate at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School, told the Post-Gazette.  “Every single person at Central knew ‘Juice.’ He had the ability to take over an entire room of people with his positive energy. One of the few people in life that you will meet that there’s nothing to say bad about. Did so much for the Central community. It was truly amazing. Such an awesome person all around.”

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It is unclear when he was diagnosed with the disease, but more than 7,700 people in Pennsylvania alone have died of coronavirus, according to the state health department.

“He was one heck of a kid,” said Terry Totten, Stephens coach at Central Catholic said. “Kind, intelligent, funny. He was electric. I don’t know how he got the nickname ‘Juice,’ but he was always ‘Juice’ around here. People just flocked to him.”

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