Oxford High School student who visited University of Toledo hailed

·4 min read

Dec. 2—Tate Myre stood on the Glass Bowl turf Saturday, a tough-guy expression on his face that screamed smashmouth football player.

He wore his Oxford High School letterman's jacket, an Oxford football hooded sweatshirt, and Oxford sweatpants. Hands tucked in his pants pockets, young Myre gazed into the camera, his eyes narrowed, a boundless future ahead.

No one knew at the time that the teenager and Oxford would be linked forever, in grief and in heroism.

On Tuesday afternoon, young Myre's plans met an agonizing conclusion as he and two Oxford students — Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17 — were killed by 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, a classmate who opened fire in the school, injuring eight others during a senseless five-minute rampage. The Crumbley youth has been charged as an adult.

A fourth student, Justin Shilling, 17, died Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The Myre teen reportedly attempted to disarm the gunman, preventing the devastation from being even worse.

"Putting everyone else before him, I can't even imagine how those kids felt at that time, and to see someone with that type of courage and bravery to step up, he saved, who knows, hundreds of lives," said Jeff Corrion, founder of The D Zone, a Michigan high school recruiting website, who knows the player's family. "That's going to be his legacy. People are never going to forget this in Michigan."

A sheriff's deputy rushed the youth to the hospital, but the 16-year-old died in the patrol car, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.

Oxford is located 30 miles north of Detroit.

"Tate was and will always be a beaming light for Oxford," Oxford coach Zach Line wrote on Twitter. "It's hard to put into words what he meant to me, but he will hold a special place in my heart forever. God reaches down and touches certain people, he was one of those people. I love you FOUR TWO."

Young Myre made an unofficial visit to the University of Toledo for last week's game against Akron. He attended with his dad.

"It's heartbreaking for the family, for that community. I can't really put it into words," said UT director of player personnel Ricky Ciccone, with a solemn, stunned tone to his voice. "Everybody spoke very highly of him as a kid. He was a really good football player. Carried himself very well. Good kid. He couldn't have had a better reputation."

The junior tight end/running back/linebacker had 43 carries for 286 yards (6.6 yards per carry), 34 receptions for 420 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 71.5 tackles during the 2020 season. The teen, who wore jersey No. 42, was a first-team all-region selection on offense and defense by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association.

"His character is the biggest thing. He was always focused on the team before everything else," Mr. Corrion said. "He set a good example for the rest of his teammates. The younger kids looked up to him. He really set the bar high for character."

The Myre youth had the game-clinching interception on a rainy October night in Oxford's 38-28 upset of No. 7 Clarkston in the Michigan state playoffs. After the game, he wore a slight grin as he spoke to The D Zone in a video posted on Twitter.

"It feels awesome. It feels great," he said, with a joyful expression across his face. "Rain is just like Oxford football, tough and muddy. Everything about us is tough."

An online petition to rename Oxford's Wildcat Stadium in honor of the victim has more than 50,000 signatures.

"Tate is not just a hero to his fellow students at Oxford high school but a legend, his act of bravery should be remembered forever and passed down through generations, he put his life in danger to try and help the thousands of other students at Oxford High School," Drake Biggie, the petition's organizer, wrote.

In a tweet posted Sunday at 1:40 p.m., young Myre said, "Had a great time at the Toledo game yesterday. Thank you [Ricky Ciccone and Toledo football] for the invite!"

Tragedy would strike 48 hours later.

"He had a bright future," Mr. Ciccone said.

First Published December 1, 2021, 12:30pm

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