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Ex-Gator, Mainland High grad Avery Atkins found dead in his car


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PORT ORANGE -- Former University of Florida and Mainland High School cornerback Avery Atkins was found dead at his home this morning, police said.


Atkins, 20, was in his car and could not be revived, despite attempts by EVAC Ambulance paramedics.


"We are investigating it as a supsicious death," Port Orange Sgt. Wayne Dorman said. "In an abundance of caution, we're looking at all angles. It doesn't appear anyone else is involved at this point."


Police are awaiting the results of an autopsy, which is happening today, to determine the cause of death.


Dorman said there were no outward signs of trauma to Atkins' body but would not elaborate on where or in what position he was found in the car.


Dorman said the car was parked in the garage of his Birch Mountain Road home and the garage door was open. He would not say whether the car's engine was running.


Police were notified by a call from a relative at the home, who was the only other person home at the time. The call came in about 8 a.m.


More details are expected to be released later today.


Dorman would not comment on what Atkins might have been doing last night or before he was discovered.


Atkins, an All-American high school player and the centerpiece of Urban Meyer's first recruiting class, has had a string of troubles in the past year.


The Gators agreed to release Atkins from his scholarship on June 29, 2006, granting his request after he became disgruntled.


Just Monday, he was arrested in Ormond Beach on a charge of possessing crack cocaine. It was his third arrest -- and the second for drugs -- in the past three months.



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