Mississippi State offensive lineman Sam Westmoreland died suddenly at the age of 19, head coach Mike Leach said.
“The Mississippi State Athletics Family is heartbroken by the sudden death of Sam Westmoreland,” Leach said in a statement.
“Sam was a beloved son, brother and teammate, and a tremendous young man with a limitless future. He will always be remembered and deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him.
“The entire MSU Family mourns as our thoughts and prayers go out to the Westmoreland family. Our highest priority is the support of the Westmoreland family and our student-athletes during this troubling time.”
No cause of death was immediately announced.
Mississippi State said that the Oktibbeha County (Miss.) Sheriff’s Office and the office of the county medical examiner and coroner are getting information on Westmoreland’s sudden death.
Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers paid his respects to Westmoreland in a message posted to Twitter.
“It’s okay to not be okay and we can always do more no matter what is going on. Hail State forever brother. ‘Til we meet again 78,” Rogers wrote.
The freshman came from Tupelo, Mississippi, and played high school football at Tupelo High School.
Westmoreland walked on to the Mississippi State football team after a high profile career in high school, earning a spot in the Northeast Mississippi Football Coaches Association All-Star Game last season.
He also earned Region 2-6A second-team honors after his senior year in 2021-22.