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UConn coach: No indication football players involved in fight

  • Story Highlights
  • UConn coach: No one has "substantiated" anything about a fight
  • Football player was stabbed to death early Sunday after a student dance
  • UConn will mark Tuesday as a day of silence for Jasper Howard, 20
  • Candlelight vigil is Wednesday, and other commemorations are planned
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(CNN) -- University of Connecticut football coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday that nothing he has heard indicates that any of his players were involved in a fight the night cornerback Jasper Howard was stabbed to death.

"You loved being around the guy," UConn football coach Randy Edsall said of Jasper Howard.

"I'm not here to question anything," he told reporters, but "when I hear fight, I usually think of people throwing fists; I haven't gotten that information."

Authorities said Howard, 20, was stabbed in the abdomen in a fight early Sunday after a student dance on the school's campus in Storrs. He died later at a Hartford, Connecticut, hospital.

Edsall said he couldn't comment on what he's heard about a fight because he didn't know of anybody "that's kind of substantiated that." He said it was possible that it was "verbal jostling."

Hundreds of students poured out of the dance early Sunday at the student union after a fire alarm was pulled, authorities said. Howard was stabbed outside the student union, moments afterward, around 12:30 a.m.

A second person, whom authorities did not identify, was also stabbed. The second victim, who was treated and released, was 19-year-old Brian Parker, a redshirt freshman on the UConn football squad, according to CNN affiliate WTNH.

No one has been charged in Howard's killing, which authorities have classified as a homicide. Video Watch Nancy Grace's report on the investigation »

UConn said Tuesday will mark a day of silence for Howard. The university's Black Student Association is asking the UConn community to wear dark clothes Tuesday to show that it is united in mourning, the school said on its athletic Web site.

Further activities to remember Howard are planned this week, UConn said, including a candlelight vigil on Wednesday.

The school's football team will play West Virginia at the the Mountaineers' Milan Puskar Stadium. Edsall said the West Virginia players will wear Howard's number, 6, on the back of their helmets.

A moment of silence will be held before the noon game, and then both teams will shake hands, Edsall said.

The UConn Huskies will don Howard's initials on their helmets for the rest of the season, and will take his helmet and jersey to all of their games, Edsall said.

The football coach said Howard's parents had arrived on campus and had met with players.

"The Howard family knew the kind of support and love that their son had here," Edsall said. "But after being here for the last 24, 30 hours, they didn't know it was like it is here," he said.

"I think that's one thing they wished everybody would know, because what has transpired here since Sunday is just beauty to behold in terms of how much love and how much family is within this program."

He said Howard's parents had told the team about their son's love for each of them, for the university and for life.

The Huskies beat Louisville on Saturday, in the Huskies' homecoming game, and Howard, who was nicknamed "Jazz," was awarded the game ball, Edsall said.

"You'd loved being around the guy," the coach said. "He was a guy that brought a smile to your face, and he also could get you frustrated a little bit too," he said.

"Some people say he had that nickname, 'Jazz,' because he was real smooth, and I said, 'I know that all too well. He's tried it all on me,'" the coach said, smiling.

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One person was arrested in connection with the fight -- but not for the stabbing -- outside the student union, according to a police report.

Johnny F. Hood, 21, was charged with interfering with an officer and breach of peace, according to a police report. He was released on $100,000 bond. Hood's attorney said his client was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, WTNH reported Monday.

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