Former USF football player killed in stabbing outside nightclub

Former University of South Florida football player Elkino Watson was killed and another man was injured in a stabbing outside an Ybor City nightclub early Sunday morning.

According to Tampa Police, the incident happened around 3 a.m. at The Orpheum on East 7th Avenue. The establishment had been packed with people for an unofficial after-party for the USF football game.

Club goers said there were no issues inside the party, but when bouncers began to clear the room just before 3 a.m., a fight broke out at the entrance.

"Chaos erupted after that. Everyone was pushing each other, trying to get out, and there are only two doors," said a student who did not want to be identified, "so think about probably at least 300 people trying to go out of two doors."

A large brawl spilled into the streets, according to witnesses.

Authorities said Watson, who was a standout defensive lineman for the Bulls in 2014, was stabbed in a parking lot behind the club.

His friend, Desmond Horne, was also stabbed. Both men were transported to Tampa General Hospital, where Watson was pronounced dead. Horne, who is also a former USF student, suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Tampa Police have not determined a motive for the stabbing and no suspect has been arrest.

Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

USF Athletics and head football coach Willie Taggart issued a statement on Sunday that read, "We are deeply saddened and stunned by the tragic loss of Elkino Watson and the injuries suffered by Desmond Horne. Kino was a tremendous young man with a great smile and a big heart who was very much loved by our USF football family and will be sorely missed. Our hearts hurt for his daughter and his family. The thoughts and prayers of our team and our University are with the Watson family as they deal with this terrible loss and with Desmond Horne to make a full recovery."

Watson left the university in December of 2014, his last semester of eligibility, to pursue a career in the NFL. According to USF Athletics officials, he was practicing with the Bears this summer, but was cut from just weeks ago. Watson was talking to other teams about joining another practice squad in the near future. He was living in Miami.

Horne tried out for a spot on the Bulls' football team during 2015 spring practices.

"There is nothing more profoundly tragic and sad than when a member of our student-athlete family, current or past, passes away or is seriously injured," USF Director of Athletics Mark Harlan said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Elkino Watson and with Desmond Horne and his family as he makes his recovery.  We will work closely with Coach Taggart and his staff to provide our football team and all of our USF student-athletes with the support they need during this very difficult period."