Sam Westmoreland, a member of the Mississippi State football team, has died, the university announced Wednesday. He was 19 years old.
Westmoreland was a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, and in his first year with the Bulldogs program as a preferred walk-on. A 6-foot-4, 260-pound offensive lineman who was a standout at Tupelo High School, Westmoreland was majoring in industrial technology at MSU.
No cause of death was revealed. Mississippi State said it was “working cooperatively” with the athletic department and local authorities to “determine the facts of this incident.” The school will “have no further comment until that assessment is completed.”
“The Mississippi State Athletics family is heartbroken by the sudden death of Sam Westmoreland,” MSU head coach Mike 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.”
Added Mississippi State president Mark Keenum: "One of the most profound lessons I've learned while leading this great university is that the tragic loss of one of our students diminishes all of our students — and all of us at Mississippi State feel the impact of Sam Westmoreland's death. My prayers are with Sam's family and friends, with his MSU teammates and coaches, and with the Tupelo community during this most difficult time."
Will Rogers, MSU's starting quarterback, addressed Westmoreland's death on 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.
Mississippi State is ranked No. 24 in the country and has a road game scheduled at No. 6 Alabama on Saturday.