OLIVER SPRINGS — Like most young men, Brady Walls had big dreams.
Walls, 17, wanted to become a famous football player, family members and friends said during a candlelight vigil in Oliver Springs on Tuesday.
â€œHe wanted to go to the NFL and buy his daddy a Jeep,â€ said friend and neighbor John Simms, a junior at Oliver Springs High School.
Walls, a Harriman resident, died Monday morning after he fell out of the back of a pickup truck in Coalfield on Sunday night. He was on a coon hunting trip with four friends and two brothers, Tyler and Dillon Walls.
His funeral is tonight at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Oliver Springs. The family will receive friends starting at 4 p.m., and the funeral is at 8 p.m.
His mother, Juanita Walls of Oak Ridge, said her son was fearless, and his uncle Jeff Foster of LaFollette described him as being like actor Jim Carey but with a “redneck” accent.
â€œHe was a one-of-a-kind boy,â€ Juanita Walls said.
“He thought he was 10 foot tall and bulletproof,” Tyler Walls added.
Simms said Walls, a sophomore who was 6’3″ and 185 pounds, was a cornerback for the Oliver Springs High School Bobcats football team last year and was going to be quarterback this year.
He had previously played for the Coalfield Yellow Jackets.
He was riding in the back of a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck on Coal Hill Road in Coalfield when he fell out onto the pavement at about 9:43 p.m. Sunday. Riding with three friends, he had been on his way to meet Tyler and Dillon and another friend to go coon hunting, a sport that Walls was passionate about.
Tyler Walls drove to the accident scene.
“I pulled up and seen him laying there, and I was clueless,” he said. “I was overwhelmed.”
Brady Walls, who had a habit of twirling his hair between his fingers and knew how to make friends smile, was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by helicopter. But he never regained consciousness and died Monday at 10:24 a.m.
“We all prayed for a long time,” said Garrett Miller, 18, who was the Bobcats’ quarterback last year and drove to UT Medical Center late Sunday night to see Walls. “It was a shock.”
Friends estimated that about a thousand people attended the Tuesday night vigil at D.J. Brittan Field in Oliver Springs.
“It helps a lot,” Tyler Walls said.
Besides his mother and brothers, Walls is also survived by his father, Eric Walls of Harriman, three sisters, two stepbrothers, and a stepmother and stepfather.