Last season, Devin Durden played in 12 games at tight end for Air Force. He caught one pass. On Thursday morning, Durden died at age 21.
The Colorado Springs Gazette confirmed the sad news. Durden was in a serious motorcycle accident on Sept. 26 and suffered numerous injuries, including significant spinal injuries. His condition worsened on Tuesday, the Gazette reported.
Durden was expected to compete for a starting job this fall, but was one of five Falcons players removed from the team before training camp for unspecified reasons. He had returned home to Georgia and planned to enlist, the Gwinnett Daily Post reported. Durden was in Georgia when the motorcycle accident occurred.
Players at service academies say they have a tighter bond than athletes at other colleges, and that came through from some of the Twitter responses by Durden's former teammates.
"Lost a brother last night," Air Force receiver Drew Coleman wrote. "The rest of this season is for you @ddurden087, wish you could be out there with us again. I love you man RIP."
"So true that the good die young," Air Force safety Anthony Wooding wrote. "Rest in paradise Double D."
"No one knows why but heaven gained one of the best angels it could," quarterback Connor Dietz wrote. "Much love brother. Rest in paradise. May god bless you and keep you close."
Saturday's game against Navy, which will be nationally televised on CBS, will carry a lot of added emotion for Air Force. Condolences to Durden's family, friends and former teammates.