PORT ORANGE, Fla. (AP) -Former Florida and Bethune-Cookman football player Avery Atkins was found dead in his car in the garage of his aunt's home Thursday in what police called a suspicious death.
The 20-year-old player could not be revived by paramedics, Port Orange police Sgt. Wayne Dorman said. Authorities would not release further details, and Dorman did not elaborate on why police consider this suspicious. An autopsy will be performed.
Atkins was a freshman cornerback on the 2005 Gators and was projected to start on the 2006 squad, the eventual national champion. He was released from his scholarship last summer by Florida coach Urban Meyer because of a domestic battery charge against him.
He joined Bethune-Cookman as a transfer and played in three games in 2006 before being released from his scholarship.
``We are saddened to hear the news regarding Avery,'' Florida coach Urban Meyer said in a statement. ``We share our grief with the Atkins' family and those close to them.''
Atkins attempted to rejoin the Gators this spring, re-enrolling at Florida while paying his own way. Meyer said at the time that wasn't enough to allow his return.
Atkins was arrested Monday and charged with possession of crack cocaine. He also was arrested in June when Daytona Beach police said they found him with cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a concealed weapon. He was charged in May with felony aggravated battery.
Last year, Atkins was charged twice with domestic battery on the mother of his child. He entered a deferred prosecution in both cases.

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