By Art Holliday
St. Louis (KSDK) - Sherrell Smith promised his family he was going to be a football star, but just days into his first college practices, he was found dead. He was found last Friday in his freshman dormitory at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri.
Those who knew Sherrell say he was an impressive young man. He was a student leader and a mutli-sport athlete at Lift for Life Academy.
At just 18-years-old, he died too soon.
Sherrell was all smiles the day he signed a letter of intent for a full ride football scholarship to Missouri Valley College.
His aunt says Sherrell didn't let diabetes stop him from achievement in school or athletics.
"With the diabetes and things, that was never a deterrent for him. It was just another stone to step over to reach his goal, and he did just that," said his aunt, Tammy Hill.
Sherell attended Lift for Life Academy from middle school through high school. His former principal says he was captain of the football and basketball teams.
Smith wore number 13 for the Vikings, a wide receiver with great hands and great leaping ability.
The school's head football coach, Bennie Anderson, remembers Sherrell as one of his best athletes, and is trying to explain the unexplainable to the players who knew him.
"It's hard, it's hard. These guys want to honor Sherrell and there's a lot of confusion when you're 17, 18-years-old. And him being a guy who's done things the right way and for him to leave the world that way, there's a lot of unanswered questions in these kids' hearts," said Anderson.
The popular student athlete was also voted Mr. Lift for Life and was homecoming king three times. Last week he visited his former high school principal, Katrice Noble, before taking off for college.
"So on Friday, to get that information, I would say I was extremely devastated, disbelief. I still am today," said Noble.
Visitation for Sherrell Smith is Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon at Jubilee Community Church. Funeral services will immediately follow.