The high school football player who inspired Florida in its Outback Bowl win over Penn State, died of brain cancer Friday, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
Ian Lockwood, who played for Navarre High School in Northwest Florida, was diagnosed with brain cancer in the summer of 2009. After surgeries and treatment, Lockwood, 18, spent a large portion of 2010 cancer-free. Tests in September, though, showed the cancer had returned. He underwent his second surgery for brain cancer at Shands Hospital.
Lockwood became close to former UF coach Urban Meyer during his battles over the past two years and close to safety Ahmad Black, the Outback Bowl’s Most Valuable Player. Lockwood came into thepostgame news conference with a right eye swollen close to shut from the surgery and a Gator wool hat hiding the scars.
Meyer brought Lockwood to the podium and had Black hand him a game ball, the one Black used to run 80 yards for the clinching touchdown.
“We told you we were going to do everything we could to try to win this game for you and get you a game ball,” Meyer said then.
Lockwood spent time with the Gators bowl week.
“He stood up in front of us at a film session and told us he wished he could play one more play on the football field,” Mike Pouncey said. “He inspired us.”