University of Miami football star Bryan Pata was shot and killed at his apartment complex on Tuesday night.
Pata played for the Miami Hurricanes
The 22-year-old defensive tackle, who had trained as usual in the afternoon, was found dead in the car park outside his apartment later that evening.
Pata was in his fourth year with the Hurricanes and was expected to be selected in next spring's NFL draft.
Miami-Dade police spokesman Roy Rutland confirmed Pata's death was being treated as murder.
Pata's devastated mother, Jeanette Pata, stood outside his apartment on Tuesday night wearing a replica of her son's football jersey.
University of Miami released a statement in tribute to the murdered star.
"Bryan was a fine person and a great competitor. He will be forever missed by his coaches and team-mates. We offer our thoughts and prayers to his family," it said.