Loved ones pay respects to former UCF, University Christian football star Otis Anderson Jr.

Central Florida's Otis Anderson Jr. (2) returns a punt for a long touchdown against Pittsburgh during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) (Keith Srakocic, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family and friends on Monday paid their respects to former University of Central Florida and University Christian football star Otis Anderson Jr.

Visitation was Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at University Christian Church on University Boulevard — the same campus where Anderson Jr. was a star football player for University Christian School.

The funeral is set for Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Southside Church of God in Christ on Emerson Street.

Family, friends and former teammates say Anderson Jr., 23, loved everybody and had a heart of gold.

Anderson Jr. died in a shooting Nov. 29 at his parents’ home on Jacksonville’s Northside.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, officers were dispatched to the residence in the Forest Trails area where they found Anderson Jr. suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest. Investigators said a second person — identified as Anderson Jr.’s mother, Denise Anderson — was suffering from multiple graze wounds and was hospitalized.

Anderson Jr. died at the scene. Police said his mother was later discharged from the hospital.

His father, 52-year-old Otis Anderson Sr., is charged with murder and attempted murder in the case.

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At UC, Anderson Jr. was a versatile player who shined on both sides of the football. He and Hussein Howe Jr. were a potent 1-2 punch out of the backfield during back-to-back state championship seasons in 2015-16. When Howe graduated following the 2015 season, Anderson Jr. became the primary back and excelled. He was a Times-Union Super 24 selection during his senior season in 2016.

But where he really took off was in college with the Knights. Anderson Jr. played as a true freshman with UCF and his production increased by the season. He amassed 3,708 all-purpose yards and 27 total touchdowns with the Knights in Scott Frost’s offense. Anderson Jr. played on UCF’s 13-0 team in 2017. Anderson Jr. averaged 6.1 yards per carry at UCF, which ranks second in program history behind Greg McCrae (6.45)

After leaving UCF, Anderson Jr. was briefly a member of the Los Angels Rams this season. Anderson Jr. spent training camp with the Rams after going undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft but was cut from the practice squad in September, according to CBS Sports.

The Rams honored Anderson Jr. on Sunday during their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, as they wore decals on their helmets that said “OA Jr.”

About the Authors:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.