MGCCC football player remembered for his charm, big smile, and ‘teddy bear personality’
PERKINSTON, Miss. (WLOX) - Those who knew Levi Madison say he was a gentle giant who always had a smile for everyone, until he got on the field, that is. There, the defensive lineman shined even brighter, pushing himself and his teammates to play harder.
“People were kind of drawn to him. He had kind of a teddy bear type personality,” said MGCCC Head Football Coach Jack Wright. “So, a big guy like that, that smiles around and is playful, it just draws people in. He had an ability to take that charm and make people smile.”
The MGCCC freshman from Meridian was killed in a car crash Sept. 24 while heading back to the Perkinston campus. He was in a vehicle with freshman offensive lineman Brandon Cunningham, who is still in the hospital recovering, and sophomore running back Cam Thomas, who was not injured. The car hit a pole on South Magnolia Drive near Highway 49 around 1am, said police.
It’s a loss that has left his football family, as well as everyone else who knew him, heartbroken. Sophomore defensive end Deven Wright said he was waiting to hear back from Levi when he learned about the crash.
“We had heard there was a wreck so I called him, but it was a call that he never got. His messages turned green and I knew,” said Wright.
Getting the tragic phone call that one of his players was killed in a crash is something Levi’s coach will never forget.
“You have to sit there and pause for a second and think am I really awake? Are the words that I’m hearing right now a real phone call or just something I’m dreaming. Then, it sinks in that this really happened,” said Coach Wright.
On Sunday, the team and other students at MGCCC gathered for a memorial to remember their friend, sending paper lanterns up into the sky and leaning on each other for support.
Now, the team is back on the field, preparing for another away game this week against Copiah-Lincoln Community College. When they step on that field, though, the Bulldogs will be playing in memory of their teammate and friend.
“We’re going to do everything to shed light on Levi. When the play gets hard, we’re going to do it for Levi,” said Deven Wright. “When things get tough, we may make a mistake but we are going to think, have a chip on our shoulder and we’re going to do it for Levi.”
Coach Wright said the players will finish out the year with decals on their helmets in honor of Levi.
Visitation for Levi will be held Friday, Oct. 1 from 6:30-7:30pm at Berry and Gardner Funeral Home OP Chapel, located at 1221 13th St., Meridian, Miss.
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