Aaron Wilson, a star defensive end at St. Frances Academy who was ranked among the state’s top Class of 2022 prospects, has died after a bout with cancer, the school announced Monday. He was 17.
“Today we lost one of our scholars to a long and hard fought battle with cancer,” the Baltimore school said in a Facebook post. “We want to extend prayers to his family as well as our Saint Frances Academy school family as we remember Aaron Wilson, Class of 2022.”
In March, Wilson’s mother, Rasheda Mayse, launched a GoFundMe to assist with Wilson’s medical costs. On the fundraiser page, she wrote that Wilson was in a “battle for his life” after developing a high grade midline glioma, a grade 4 brain tumor, the most severe and fast-growing. As of Monday evening, the page had raised nearly $9,000 of its $250,000 goal.
“He has had brain surgery to remove some of the mass [sic] In addition to chemotherapy and radiation,” she wrote. “He is currently undergoing radiation on his spine due to the mass managing to spread.”
According to 247Sports, Wilson was rated a four-star prospect and the fourth-best player in his class in Maryland. He held offers from Maryland, along with several other Power Five schools including Florida, Florida State, Miami, Penn State and Texas.
As a sophomore, Wilson dominated at Florida’s Ocoee High, where he played his final season in 2019. He then transferred to St. Frances, but he never played there.
Wilson had four procedures, including a shunt in his skull to help relieve pressure and prevent fluid buildup caused by what had become three brain tumors. His father, Arthur Wilson, said his son seemed to be responding to the chemo and radiation and the family was making plans for him to return to St. Frances just before he got sick again in November.
“Aaron was real private about this. He was fighting it and really wanted to get through it,” Arthur Wilson told The Orlando Sentinel. “Aaron was a fighter and he wanted to get through this battle and he took it head on. He kept having some setbacks, but every time he had a setback, he fought to come back.”
Wilson was a member of the National Honor Society and carried a 4.4 GPA.
“He had so much promise and he’s a true student athlete,” Mayse said. “He was very concerned about his grades and very serious about his studies. He was a people person, very family-oriented. He got along with everybody.”
Teammates, coaches and recruiting experts offered condolences on social media.
“Please send prayers to Aaron Wilson, his family, his coaches, teammates and friends. #RIP,” wrote 247Sports national analyst Brian Dohn.
“For the short time I got to know you was nothing other then [sic] a blessing,” St. Frances defensive end Maximus Lockett wrote. “The guys, coaches, teachers and staff spoke so highly of you as a football player, friend, and young man. You inspire me bro.”
“Been trying to find the words all day but can not comprehend this situation!” the West Orange football team posted on Twitter. “All I know is you are smiling down with that phenomenal personality! We Love You Aaron Wilson!”
“R.I.P Aaron Wilson,” wrote University of Florida assistant director of player personnel Kelvin Bolden. “My prayers & condolences goes out to his Family, Friends, Teammates, & Coaches.”
Wilson is survived by his older brother, Brandon Wilson, a former West Orange, Central Florida and Indiana defensive lineman; his mother Rasheda Mayse of Charlotte North Carolina; and his father and stepmother, Arthur and Shawna Wilson of Orlando. The family is still in the process of making funeral arrangements.
The Orlando Sentinel contributed to this article.