Zaire Williams (center) of the University of Maine looks for running room as James Madison's Brandon Hereford pursues during a September 2016 game in Orono. Williams was shot and killed early morning in Philadelphia. (BDN File) Credit: BDN File

Zaire Williams, who played football at the University of Maine during the 2016 season, is dead.

According to a report by NBC10, Williams was on the 1800 block West of Montgomery Avenue in Philadelphia at about 4 a.m. Monday when he was shot in the head.

NBC10 said Williams was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:38 a.m. No arrests have been made and a weapon has not been recovered.

Williams was 25.

“This morning we lost one of our family members too soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with Zaire’s family and loved ones… Rest In Peace brother,” UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said on his Twitter account.

Williams had transferred to UMaine in 2016 after playing two seasons at Temple University.

“RIP to Zaire Williams, good kid gone too soon,” former UMaine offensive line coach Jeff Ambrosie said on Twitter.

He was excited to get a new start at UMaine.

“The process of transferring is hard, but I have great teammates and great coaches, and everybody on the staff just welcomed me in here, made me feel at home,” Williams told the BDN in May 2016.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound running back, played in 10 of 11 games for the Black Bears in 2016. Williams finished as the No. 2 rusher as he ran for 302 yards on 75 carries (4 yards per carry) and scored a touchdown. He also caught two passes for five yards.

However, Williams left school prior to the 2017 season after failing to meet academic requirements, according to head coach Joe Harasymiak, the Black Bears’ head coach at the time.

“He had some [difficult] things go on in his personal life with his family and stuff. He lost his grandmother,” Harasymiak said after Williams’ departure.

“Hopefully, he’ll land on his feet. We’re trying to help him with that.”

Williams was a standout running back at Timber Creek High School in Sicklerville, New Jersey and while there was the 16th-ranked recruit in the state.

As a freshman at Football Bowl Subdivision program Temple in 2013, Williams rushed for a team-leading 533 yards and was selected for the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.

As a sophomore, he had only seven carries for 17 yards before a back injury forced him to miss the remainder of the 2014 season.


Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...