One by one Mississippi State players removed dog tags from around their necks and placed them on the closed casket lid.
Arm in arm, the Bulldogs embraced with tears falling to form a circle around casket to pray and mourn the loss of fallen teammate Keith Joseph Jr.
MSU players, coaches, friends and family said goodbye to Joseph Jr. and his father, Keith Joseph Sr., during a memorial service inside Humphrey Coliseum Thursday afternoon.
Both men lost their lives last Friday in a one-vehicle accident near Leakesville.
“Proverbs 3:5 says ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding’,” said MSU defensive line coach David Turner. “We have to trust that the Lord knows what He’s doing. He took both of them at the same time. That’s the only way that could happen. Those two touched our lives in a mighty, mighty way.”
Joseph Sr., 44, was a linebacker for the Bulldogs from 1989-92 while his son was a true freshman defensive end that was redshirting this season.
“The pride that Keith had in his father and the pride Keith Sr. had in his son is a pretty special thing,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “All the times they had together, they left together and went on the Heaven together. I’m sure it was interesting draft day for football teams in Heaven and I’m sure they had to go on the same team.”
Turner, Mullen and Tony Hughes spoke at the memorial service on behalf of the coaching staff as did university president Dr. Mark Keenum and Mullen’s wife Megan.
Former MSU quarterback William “Sleepy” Robinson shared tales of his former teammate Joseph Sr. and called him “brother” and current defensive end Ryan Brown spoke of how Joseph Jr. was always smiling.
Former MSU basketball player Tyson Cunningham and his band provided the music with the songs “Nobody Greater” and “Trouble Won’t Last Always”.
“I don’t know that you can leave a better legacy behind than the memory they leave imprinted on our brains and into our hearts as we carry them with us forever,” Dan Mullen said.
The Joseph’s will be laid to rest Friday at Union Baptist Church in Pascagoula. Visitation will be from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. followed by the funeral at 2 p.m. Interment will be at the Machpelah Cemetary in Pascagoula.