BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) — Four people are now facing charges in connection with the murder of a Bluffton High School football player last March.
DJ Fields was gunned down while driving on Bluffton Parkway in what investigators call a case of mistaken identity.
At the Bluffton High School’s home opener Friday night, the focus is not on the 18-year-old’s death, but on his life, and the impact he made on people’s lives on and off the field.
The school will officially retire DJ’s number 55.
Fields’ grandmother died just before her 55th birthday. That’s why he wore the number 55. Now that number will never be worn again at Bluffton High.
“It’s team 55 every day for me and his family,” said DJ’s father D’won Fields. “That’s how he is remembered.”
Now everyone will remember number 55 for the Bobcats as DJ Fields’ number, and no one else’s.
“He was the life of the football team/family,” remembers Bluffton High School Athletic Director Todd Stewart. “He was always upbeat positive, joking around. He had the best smile you could imagine.”
His father D’won said football, and that number was everything to DJ. For his grandmother, for his team, and even after his death, Team 55, the 55 Project, the charity that bears his name.
A day of giving is planned for Sept. 17 as well as scholarships handed out to students. All a way to give back to the community and the school he loves so much.
“Live like DJ always doing the right thing and being positive,” D’won said.
A positive feeling that Bluffton’s new football coach believes will flow through every player on the field Friday night who knew DJ.
“I told them I’m like ‘guys he is looking down on you and I’m sure nothing more would make him happy than to watch everything that is going to go on tomorrow night and then watch you all go kick butt,'” Hayden Gregory said.
While it will be an honor to walk on that field for their son, D’won Fields knows he and DJ’s mom Kema Bryant would trade all the honors just to have his son next to them one more time.
“I think about it every day,” said a tearful D’won Fields. “Just that he will walk through the door but I know it’s not going to happen.”
“It hurts like hell,” D’won said through tears. “I wish this upon nobody. I hurt every day. My family, friends my community it has gotten no easies and it probably never will.”
The game starts Friday night at 7:30 at Bluffton High School’s football field. The ceremony honoring DJ will happen before kickoff.