ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- News of former UMaine lineman Jovan Belcher's death sent shock waves through generations of the Black Bear football program on Saturday.
According to UMaine head coach Jack Cosgrove, Belcher was never recruited to play college football, but instead, was a wrestler. Coaches in Orono took a chance on him because of his work ethic. He says Belcher immediately began to prove himself as a freshman and gradually earned a spot as as captain by his senior year in 2008. He was also named an All-American.
All of the former players we spoke to say that they never anticipated this from what they say was a hardworking and dedicated player who graduated from UMaine in 3 1/2 years. One player who graduated in 2000 even says this is "by far the most shocking thing" that has happened to their program.
Coach Cosgrove says it was Belcher's dedication to kids that made him stand out. He was a "foster father" to one of the boys in the Big Brothers program, serving as a role model not just on the football field, but to all those who knew him during his time in Orono.