Former Alabama football, Pearl-Cohn star Santonio Beard died from gunshot wound in Georgia

Mike Organ
Nashville Tennessean

Former Alabama and Pearl-Cohn football star Santonio Beard died from a gunshot wound Friday, according to DeKalb County Police Department officials in Georgia.

Officers responded to a call and found Beard and another man suffering from gunshot wounds at 8:59 p.m. on the 5700 block of Windfall Lane. Beard, 41, died on scene and the other victim, a male in his early 40s, was transported to a local hospital.

No arrests have been made and the investigation remains active.

Former Pearl-Cohn High School star running back Santonio Beard sits in the football stands at his former high school in Nashville on Wednesday, April 16, 2019.  Beard went on to play at Alabama.

Beard was among The Tennessean's top 50 all-time best Nashville football players selected by a committee after a career that included more than 5,600 yards and 104 touchdowns at Pearl-Cohn, where he was a three-year starter (1996-98) and led the Tigers to two state titles.

He was a two-time Mr. Football award winner.

Beard's high school coach Maurice Fitzgerald said Beard was among the best players he coached in his 36-year career.

Running back Santonio Beard carries the ball during a practice when he played at Pearl-Cohn High School.

"Look at it this way in Metro," Fitzgerald said. "He was the all-time leading rusher, he was the all-time leading scorer, he was two-time Mr. Football and two-time state championship. There's nobody in that class."  

Beard's best two seasons at Alabama were in 2001, when he rushed for 633 yards and four touchdowns and in 2002 when he rushed for 881 and 12 touchdowns.

Highlights of Beard's career at Alabama included 199 yards rushing against Auburn and five touchdowns against Ole Miss as a junior.

Beard passed on his final year of eligibility at Alabama to enter the NFL Draft after his coach Dennis Franchione left to became the coach at Texas A&M.

: Alabama's Santonio Beard (34) drives up the field against Mississippi defensive back Eric Oliver (26) for the Tides first touchdown in the first quarter of action Saturday Oct 19, 2002 at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Mobile Register, John David Mercer)

After not being selected in the draft, Beard signed with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League.

Reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.