By Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee safety Todd Kelly Jr. is switching his uniform number from 6 to 24 this season to honor Zaevion Dobson, a Knoxville high school football player who was shot to death last year while shielding two girls from gunfire.
Kelly is from Knoxville and says he had known Dobson since elementary school.
“I felt like it was my duty just to represent him,” Kelly said after Monday’s practice. “It’s nothing about me. It’s all about him. I’m just trying to represent him any way I possibly can.”
Dobson wore No. 24 at Fulton High School. The 15-year-old sophomore died Dec. 17 while protecting friends from a shooting. Knoxville police said the girls shielded by Dobson were unhurt.
In the days after Dobson’s death, President Barack Obama sent a tweet praising the teen’s actions. Dobson received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs last month.
Defensive back Darrell Miller wore No. 24 for Tennessee last season. Miller agreed to change his number to 15, allowing Kelly to take over No. 24.