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Max Tuerk, a former USC offensive lineman taken in the third round of the NFL draft, died on Saturday, the program announced. He was 26.
A statement from Tuerk’s family later revealed that he died while hiking with his parents in the Cleveland National Forest, with 247Sports reporting that he collapsed during the hike.
A four-star recruit out of high school according to Rivals, Tuerk started at left tackle for the Trojans as a true freshman. He moved to guard his sophomore year and later earned All-Pac 12 first team honors at the position his junior year. One more move inside the line placed him at center his senior year, where he showed enough promise to be a second-day draft pick and the third player taken at the position.
Tuerk ended up starting at every position on the offensive line at least once during his college career and was named a captain his junior and senior year.
The San Diego Chargers selected Tuerk with the 66th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft and stuck with the organization for two seasons. He later spent a season with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017 before his release in 2018.
The Chargers released a statement lamenting Tuerk’s death, with general manager Tom Telesco praising the player’s passion and toughness.
Many in Tuerk’s circle at USC have also reacted to the news.
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