DeMatha students and staff took time throughout the school day yesterday to share fond memories of their friend, Alabama State football recruit Rico Webb, age 17.
Webb died suddenly over the weekend in Howard County after being taken to the hospital after complaining of chest pains, according to school officials. According to the Washington Post, the Office of Chief Medical Examiners ruled the death was of natural causes, triggered by a blood clot which travelled to the lungs.
The mourning had already spread outside the schools halls as well. Chants of "We Love Rico" went up frequently from the black-clad student cheering section at DeMatha's WCAC basketball playoff games on Sunday and Monday nights.
The school held a prayer and remembrance service in Webb's memory on Monday morning. Friends, classmates and teammates remembered Webb in tearful speeches. They almost universally speak of a friendly and dedicated boy who'd suffer to see others succeed.
Elijah Brooks, head coach of DeMatha's football team, recalled Webb as a "gentle giant" in an interview with WTTG-TV Fox 5.
Mario Barboza, the parent of one of Webb's teammates, told NBC Washington that Rico had been working out three days a week , as recently as last week.
Webb's exploits on the field led Alabam State to offer him a scholarship to play football.
Webb was also an exceptional student as well as an exceptional outside linebacker. A recruiting video put together for Webb boasts of a 3.0 grade point average right next to details of his big frame, arm span and athleticism.
That video, posted on Dec. 28, 2011, also demonstrates why he was such a valued recruit. The 24 minute long clip shows play after play featuring Webb doing what he did best: punching holes in defensive formations for running backs to squeak upfield.
"It would be hard to miss a 17 year old kid who blocks out the light when he walks down a hallway," reads the description posted beneath the video. "Webb is a massive, powerful offensive tackle who moves well and has nimble feet for such a big guy."
Webb was 6'7" tall and weighed about 370 pounds.
Another video posted to the same account shows Webb moving defender after defender around like they are checkers.