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Teammates describe slain LIU quarterback as a leader, a mentor, a friend

Clayton Beathard, Long Island University's starting quarterback this

Clayton Beathard, Long Island University's starting quarterback this past season, was fatally stabbed along with another man early Saturday outside a bar in Nashville, Tenn. Credit: James Escher

Heartbroken teammates of slain Long Island University quarterback Clayton Beathard remembered him Sunday as a tough and intelligent competitor on the gridiron, a team leader and a man deeply committed to his faith and his family. 

"You just knew the knowledge he had for the game," said LIU running back Tim Marinan, a senior, of Beathard. "Everyone wanted to pick his brain. … I just know I'm going to live my life based on the way he lived his life."

Beathard, 22, a junior at LIU, and Paul Trapeni III, 21, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after they were stabbed in a fight outside the Dogwood Bar & Grill at 2:50 a.m. Saturday, police said. A third victim, whom police identified Sunday as Alvin Jefferson "A.J." Bethurum, 21, was treated and released.

Sunday night, Nashville police said in a prepared statement that they were asking the public's assistance in locating Michael D. Mosley, 23, who "is strongly believed to have definitive information about the murders and is being sought for questioning only at this time." 

Police said Mosley, who is last known to have lived in Pegram, Tennessee, has been identified as having been present both inside and outside of the Dogwood Bar, including when the fight occurred.

Mosley is seen in a surveillance video talking with a woman in the bar, police said.

The fight began, police said, began over an unwanted advance by a man toward a woman in the bar.                          

In social media posts and interviews, Beathard's teammates were struggling Sunday to make sense of the sudden death of the redshirt junior who took over starting quarterback duties for LIU after transferring in January from an Iowa community college.    

Marinan recalled how on multiple occasions, Beathard literally gave friends who had gotten cold swimming in the chilly waters off Jones Beach the shirt off his back to get warm. It was a perfect way to sum up the beloved signal caller with a rich football pedigree and a major in sports management at LIU.

"He was a guy willing to do anything for anyone," said Marinan, 22, of Orlando, Florida. "Everyone loved him."

Beathard's family had not announced funeral arrangements by Sunday afternoon, but LIU quarterback Jacob Cheshire of Sayville said the school is planning a memorial service in January, after students return from the holiday break. "Clay was the toughest kid I know," Cheshire said. "He put the team first. He had strong beliefs and he stood up for them." 

Derick Eugene of Westbury, a junior wide receiver at LIU, described the man on the other end of the passes as "a passionate person" and also someone who developed a taste for the food synonymous with New York.

"He loved being here," Eugene said of Beathard, who came to LIU after playing at Iowa Western Community College. "He loved New York pizza. When I dropped him off at the airport when he went home for Christmas, he said he wanted one more slice."

Tommy Donovan of North Massapequa, also a quarterback for the LIU Sharks, said Beathard was "passionate about his family, the Lord and football." 

"He was the kind of kid who would do anything for you," Donovan said. 

Beathard, 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, with a shock of wavy blond hair, looked more like a surfer than a transfer student athlete from Iowa Western by way of his hometown of Thompson Station, Tennessee. 

He appeared in seven games in the fall before missing the rest of the season because of an injury, according to LIU's football team website. Beathard was second on the team in scoring with three touchdowns and took over as starting quarterback just as LIU made the leap to Division I, complete with new powder blue and gold uniforms and a new team name, the Sharks. 

Beathard came from a family well-steeped in professional football lore and the world of country music. His grandfather, Bobby Beathard, won four Super Bowls as an NFL general manager and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018. His older brother, C.J. Beathard, is a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He is the son of country music songwriter Casey Beathard and Susan Beathard. His brother, Tucker Beathard, is a country music singer.

Other LIU teammates took to social media to remember a "warrior" player they will miss forever.

Beathard's roommate, LIU wide receiver Alex Daubon, posted Instagram photos of the young men laughing, eating and riding in a plane and a car.

"Before we got to school, I used to call you all the time geeked for spring ball to start and other times just to check up on you," wrote Daubon, who according to the LIU roster is a redshirt junior. "Your family welcomed me like one of their own. Lost for words. Life is unbelievable."

In an Instagram post, another LIU wide receiver, senior Jake Bofshever, described Beathard as a "tremendous leader friend brother teammate and a hell of qb flat out warrior."

Eugene said he's not sure how the team will move on after the loss of such an integral member. 

"I don't have the answer to that. I've never gone through anything like this before," he said. "We have to stick together for Clay. We have to fight for him and each other and bring home a championship. It's not about football. It's personal." 

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