Teammates remember Pearland ISD athlete as 'great kid' who 'kept God first'

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by Shern-Min Chow & Malini Basu / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 28, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 28 at 12:22 PM

PEARLAND -- Students and coaches are mourning the sudden death of a popular football player at Pearland’s Dawson High School.

Seventeen-year-old Falobi Akanbi was playing basketball with friends after school at Silver Lake Elementary Wednesday afternoon when he suddenly collapsed. Friends tried to perform CPR until an ambulance arrived. Akandi was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Dawson High is an up and coming 4A powerhouse. The team made a deep playoff run last year, but now the Eagles have lost an offensive tackle, number 79.

The team’s quarterback, Joshua Sharp, got the news about Akanbi’s death while driving.

“I had to pull over. My body was shaking, my heart was pounding, I didn’t want to believe it,” Sharp said.

Akanbi had a couple of choices for college.

“He didn’t want his parents to pay for his school,” said Sharp. “He wanted to take care of it himself. “He had a full ride scholarship to Montana State.”

Varisty football coach Wade Oliphant says this will hit the team and school hard.

“Akanbi was very well known, 6’5” 300 or 290 pounds,” said Oliphant. “Everybody knew who he was. He was a great kid, probably a better kid than an athlete. He always did the right thing.”

Akanbi was part of a tight-knit group of racially diverse players nicknamed the “League of Nations”

“I’ve never known Folabi to complain about anything,” said Oliphant. “As far as I knew, he was perfectly healthy.”

“He always kept God first,” remembered Sharp. “Even on signing day, first thing he said when he stood, ‘I want to thank God.’ Second, his parents.”

The Pearland ISD says counselors will be available to speak with students and staff Thursday, and as long as needed.

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