Former UNI football player shot and killed

JOEL WAUTERS, Sports Editor | [email protected]

The UNI Panther football family suffered a heartbreaking tragedy this week as former defensive back Jaz Granderson was shot and killed in St. Louis.

According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report published in the Des Moines Register, Granderson was found shot in the stomach next to a woman near her house around 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning on the south side of the city. It was also reported that Granderson had his SUV stolen during the incident.

He was taken to a local hospital where he later died of his injuries. He was 27 years old.

Witnesses reported that they had heard gunfire followed by the sound of a vehicle speeding away. At this time local authorities have made no arrests or detected a potential motive for the violent attack.

A graduate of Kirkwood High School in Missouri, Granderson transferred to UNI in 2009 after a year spent at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. After redshirting the 2009 campaign, he took the field for the Panthers on special teams, recording eight tackles in the 2010 and 2011 seasons before transferring to Division II Lindwood University in St. Charles, Missouri for his final year of collegiate eligibility.

Granderson later became an assistant football coach at De Smet Jesuit High School in Creve Coeur, Missouri under head coach Robert Steeples. Steeples spoke highly of his late assistant coach, saying that they had “shared the same vision for mentorship. He had his own special way of going about things, and the kids really loved him. He was kind of like a big brother.”

The game in which he was supposed to coach that day was canceled as his players and students of the school grieved his passing.

UNI Head Football Coach Mark Farley responded to the loss of his former player on Twitter, saying, “Our deepest sympathy for our teammate Jaz Granderson. He always had a smile. Forever a Panther and will be missed.”