JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Tuesday, family and friends said their final farewell to former UCF football player, 23-year-old Otis Anderson Jr.
Loved ones said he loved his family, his fraternity and football.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said Anderson was shot and killed at his family’s home last week. His father, Otis Anderson Sr., has been charged with murder after investigators said he opened fire following an argument about how the 23-year-old’s girlfriend’s dog bit the older Anderson.
A busload of players and friends left UCF early Tuesday, heading to Anderson’s funeral in his hometown of Jacksonville.
At Anderson’s homegoing service, loved ones said they wanted to celebrate his short yet powerful life.
Anderson’s playing career briefly extended to the NFL. His Los Angeles Rams helmet and No. 32 jersey sat in front of his casket, as hundreds of loved ones and his Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers, came out to grieve and show their respects.
UCF athletic leaders presented Anderson’s family with a game ball and a varsity knights ring in his honor.
“Once a Knight, always a Knight. And the legacy of Otis will always live on,” UCF Associate Athletic Director Carlos McCants said.
Anderson’s former UCF head coach described him as a devoted player who was passionate both on and off the field.
“He cared about his family, being successful on the field and he cared about doing it the right way,” former UCF head coach Josh Heupel said.
After Tuesday’s service, UCF athletic leaders talked about Anderson’s impact and how he’ll be missed.
“It’s a tough time right now. They lost a brother, they lost a teammate, they lost a best friend. Right now everyone is having a hard time just dealing with it,” McCants said.
Meanwhile, UCF athletics unveiled a new honor for Anderson on Tuesday. They tweeted a picture showing a decal on the back of a football helmet.
It features the peace sign and Anderson’s name. He became known for giving that sign when he scored a touchdown in the American Athletic Conference title game against Memphis back in 2018.