What has already been a miserable offseason for two college football programs in the state of Alabama has become that much worse this holiday weekend.
Tonya Bray, the 37-year-old mother of Auburn wide receiver/running back signee Quan Bray, died Sunday after being shot in LaGrange, Ga. Police have arrested Quan's father, Jeffery Jones, and charged him with murder in connection with Tonya's death.
According to police, witnesses saw a driver pull alongside Tonya Bray's vehicle in LaGrange Sunday morning and fire multiple shots into the vehicle before speeding away. Jones turned himself into police within an hour of Bray being pronounced dead at West Georgia Medical Center.
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik released a statement regarding the incident:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Quan and his entire family during this extraordinarily difficult time. This is a terrible tragedy, but the Auburn Family will support Quan in every way possible throughout the grieving and healing process ahead. Quan is a great young man with a bright future, and we will be there for him every step of the way."The tragedy only adds to what has been the most difficult offseason in recent memory for college football in the Yellowhammer State. Bray's death comes on the heels of the drug-related passing of Alabama lineman Aaron Douglas, the loss of Tide long snapper Carson Tinker's girlfriend in the April tornado disaster and all the other difficulties for both programs in the wake of those storms, as well as (on a much less serious note) the poisoning of Auburn's beloved Toomer's Corner oak trees and the March arrest (and dismissal) of four Tiger players on armed robbery charges.
A highly regarded all-purpose athlete out of Lagrange's Troup County High School, Bray is already enrolled in classes at Auburn and is expected to compete this fall for playing time at receiver, running back, and kick returner. Eye on CFB offers he and his family our thoughts and condolences.