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Godfather opens up about Midshipman's personal character following death

Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 17:54:22-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The godfather of 22-year-old David Forney shared insight into the football player's character Monday. Those who knew the Naval Academy athlete say he was committed to his team and family.

"He was super down to earth," said Frankie Orange. "He really was like a kind giant."

Over the phone Orange had nothing but praise for his godson. He says the 6'3, 300 pound offensive lineman shined on the field.

"We loved watching him play," said Orange. "David really brought attention to the offensive line. You saw his size. He really let people know what the offensive line was really about."

Pictures shared with WMAR-2 News also showed Forney's love for tattoos. His godfather said the ink he displayed added to his story. Much of the ink seen in pictures were done by tattoo artists at his godfather's shop, Orange Tattoo Company.

"A lot of the time we spent together was in the tattoo shop," he said.

The 22-year-old even had an appointment planned for mid-March to have a new tattoo added to his arm.

Photos showed an elephant on his arm, a symbol of protection. It apparently spoke to his protective nature.

"His plan was to surround the elephant with other wildlife that was symbolic of his parents, his two brothers and his sister," said Orange.

The personal project will go unfinished. Forney was found last week unresponsive by another midshipman inside Bancroft Hall. Despite attempts at CPR, he was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

RELATED: 22-year-old Midshipman found dead at US Naval Academy

"Words cannot express our pain and sorrow," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said in a statement. "First and foremost, our deepest condolences to the Forney family. The Navy football brotherhood is not a team, we are a family. We are devastated to have lost one of our brothers. We all loved -- and will always love -- David. We pray for strength during this most difficult time."

On Twitter a photo posted Monday showed Forney's teammates kneeling. The caption read, "A picture is worth a thousand words. But after looking at this picture, only one word comes to mind... BROTHERHOOD #684L"

Support for Forney has been pouring in across social media. There's even a Go Fund Me account set up for his family to help pay for expenses.

Back at Orange Tattoo Company, tattoo artist Brandy Duncan spoke of the football player's personality.

"He was shy and quiet but tall," said Duncan.

Duncan also spoke of Frankie Orange's connection to Forney. Duncan gave Frankie a personalized tattoo in honor of David's birth.

"Obviously he was really happy when he was born and was asked to be his godparents," he said. "It is a way to memorialize him. It's funny to look back and see something you created for a grown man who'd latter come to our shop to have work done."

"It's family," reiterated Orange. "Even though we’re not blood we were clearly family."

The circumstances surrounding Forney's death is still under investigation. Officials said foul play did not appear to be a factor.

Funeral arrangements are still pending.