By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A “phenomenal young man” is how Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical high school senior Elijah Gorham is being described.

Gorham, a 17-year-old student-athlete who played wide receiver for the Mustangs, died earlier this week.

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Head football coach and athletic director, Patrick Nixon, said Elijah Gorham was a silent leader on the Mervo football team and was a silent leader who was a steady presence for his teammates and even the adults.

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“Just a wonderful young man. So caring, so giving, so genuine, can’t say enough positive things about him,” said Coach Nixon. “Elijah would be one somebody to pick my day up. Elijah would always run up to me and say ‘hey coach, how’s your day?’ and offer a hug.”

Gorham suffered a brain injury during a game Sept. 18, according to his GoFundMe page. He had been in the hospital since that injury until word came out Monday that he passed away.

His mother, Shantres Shaw, spoke with WJZ over the phone Tuesday.

“He was amazing, he loved the game, he loved to play football, he was a team player, a loyal team player, it was a brotherhood to him,” Shaw said.

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The Mervo football program lamented the teen’s passing with a tweet Monday.

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the passing of our fellow brother, and teammate Elijah Gorham,” the tweet said.

“He was a young man full of promise with an infectious spirit. Elijah’s passing is an unspeakable tragedy,” added Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, a Mervo alum.

Thursday’s football game may be postponed as the team remembers a young man whose light will continue to glow.

“He means a lot, there was no player on the team that didn’t know and love and respect him,” said Coach Nixon.

Coach Nixon said there will be a vigil on the football field Thursday at 7 p.m. in Elijah’s honor.

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The GoFundMe, meanwhile, has been organized to establish a scholarship in Gorham’s memory. To donate or learn more, click here.

Ava-joye Burnett