Former Booker T. Washington High and University of South Florida defensive lineman Elkino Watson was killed and another aspiring football player was injured after a stabbing early Sunday morning in Ybor City, police said.
Watson, 23, and Desmond Horne, 22, were stabbed in a parking lot near the Orpheum around 2:45 a.m. after a fight broke out, according to Tampa police.
Both victims ran from the scene and were then taken to a hospital, where Watson died, authorities said. Horne is in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries, authorities said.
Watson played for Overtown’s Booker T. High and then signed with USF in 2011.
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"We are deeply saddened and stunned by the tragic loss of Elkino Watson and the injuries suffered by Desmond Horne," USF football coach Willie Taggart said in a statement. "Kino was a tremendous young man with a great smile and a big heart who was very much loved by our USF football family and will be sorely missed. Our hearts hurt for his daughter and his family."
Watson was a four-year letterman for the Bulls from 2011 to 2014 and played in 45 games, according to USF Athletics. In his senior year, he recorded 36 tackles, including 7 1/2 for loss, with two sacks and a forced fumble. Horne had competed for a spot on the team during this year's spring practices, USF Athletics said.
"There is nothing more profoundly tragic and sad than when a member of our student-athlete family, current or past, passes away or is seriously injured," USF athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Elkino Watson and with Desmond Horne and his family as he makes his recovery.
Watson and Horne both lived in the Miami area, according to Tampa police. Fellow Miami native and former USF defensive lineman Todd Chandler said he remembered Watson as "a fun guy to be around."
"Everyone who knew Kino know what you were going to get from him," he said. "A jokester, a big guy who could really dance, someone who you knew always had your back no matter what. Every time we took the field, we said the same thing to each other: 'let's do this for the crib,' meaning let's go out here and ball out for those people back home."