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Published: Monday, 7/21/2003

Standout athlete's body found

At Rogers High School, Justin Chapman was a quiet leader who starred on both the football field and the basketball court.

Yesterday, Michigan authorities found the 22-year-old's body in Lake St. Clair near Mount Clemens, a day after he was feared dead in a swimming accident.

Mr. Chapman's death stunned his former coaches at Rogers, who lost another standout athlete, Drushaun Humphrey, to a heart condition in April, 2001, at the end of his junior year.

Mr. Chapman and Mr. Humphrey played together on the Rogers varsity football team in 1998, which was Mr. Chapman's senior year and Mr. Humphrey's freshman season.

“This is just horrible,” said Randy Bartz, Rogers athletic director who coached Mr. Chapman and Mr. Humphrey. “They were the best athletes I ever coached and to have them both gone is just incredible. Justin was just a good solid person and a role model.

“He was quiet, but led by example and all the kids looked up to him. I could always count on him to keep everyone else in line. This is really sad.”

Macomb County officials found Mr. Chapman's body yesterday near where he was last seen in Lake St. Clair.

Macomb County sheriff's Capt. Dave Teske said divers found Mr. Chapman's body about 12:30 p.m. about a quarter-mile northeast of where he went into the water. Captain Teske said his body is with the Macomb County coroner for an autopsy.

Captain Teske said there was no evidence of trauma, but that has not been ruled out. He said family members were at Metro Beach Metropark yesterday and identified Mr. Chapman's body.

Mr. Chapman was an All-City football and basketball player at Rogers. Mr. Bartz said though several Big Ten schools were interested in Mr. Chapman's football skills, his passion was basketball. He enrolled at Alpena Community College in the northeastern portion of the lower peninsula to improve his chances for a basketball scholarship.

He then joined Wayne State University in Detroit after two years at Alpena. He was ranked in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in scoring and rebounding. Mr. Chapman would have been a senior this fall at Wayne State majoring in physical education. Relatives said he had wanted to become a teacher.



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