CARBONDALE, Ill. — Former Southern Illinois University football player Jason Seaman is being hailed as a hero after he protected students during a school shooting in Noblesville, Indiana Friday morning.
Seaman played defensive line and lettered four years in football from 2007-10. A native of Mahomet, Illinois, he was recruited by former SIU head coach Jerry Kill and played one season under Kill, who is now the school's acting director of athletics.
HERO | Former #Salukis defensive lineman Jason Seaman (2007-10) is being hailed as a hero. A science teacher in Noblesville, IN — he took a bullet this morning to protect his students. https://t.co/2A19N6zeS8 pic.twitter.com/Wle8BVKyv1— Saluki Football (@SIU_Football) May 25, 2018
"Someone asked me if I was surprised by what he did, and I said 'absolutely not,' he was our type of kid," said Kill. "That's what he stood for. He's a great young man and I'm praying for him to be ok. I saw a statistic that more kids are being killed in schools than are dying in the military. This stuff has got to stop."
Current SIU football head coach Nick Hill, who played on the same team with Seaman during the 2007 season, also reacted to the news late Friday afternoon and said his heart goes out to the Noblesville community and to all those who have been affected by school violence.
"If someone didn't step up, how many junior high kids could've passed away today?" Hill asked. "They didn't because of Jason. (At SIU) he was a great teammate, one of the team's hardest workers. You could always trust him to do the right thing."
Seaman played in 47 games during his career at SIU and totaled 88 tackles, 8.0 sacks and 14.0 tackles for loss. The elementary education major was also named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Academic team. Southern's teams made three playoff appearances and won two conference championships during Seaman's career. During his freshman season in 2007, Southern Illinois went 12-2 and advanced to the semifinals of the playoffs.
"We had a good team that year, the best I've ever been around," Hill recalled. "As a true freshman that was a tough lineup for (Jason) to crack. I remember being at Northern Illinois when a guy went down, Tony (Colletti) got hurt that game, and Jason had to play, and we beat (FBS) Northern Illinois. That season we went to the FCS semifinals and he was a key player for us on a really good football team. He was just a tough kid who didn't say much and just went to work."
"My actions on that day, in my mind, were the only acceptable actions I could have done given the circumstances. I deeply care for my students and their well-being." Jason Seaman, wounded teacher hailed a hero after Indiana school shooting, says Monday.https://t.co/bD73y3ogWm pic.twitter.com/D1ML1BV9Fa— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 28, 2018
His position coach on the defensive line for two seasons was Austin Flyger (pronounced Fleeger), who is currently Southern's defensive line and special teams coach.
"The reason you get into coaching is to work with guys like him," Flyger said. "He was a selfless person — from my experience with him he would have given the shirt off his back. The way he led, he went to work every day, worked his tail off in the weight room, worked his butt off on the practice field, he was a great example in the classroom, all the things you want in a student-athlete he pretty much exemplified."