University of Hawaii running back Willis Wilson was found dead Saturday after an apparent drowning, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported. He was 21.
Wilson was among a group of three men and two women wading in shallow water Saturday morning near Sandy Beach, according to the Honolulu Fire Department. The group noticed that Wilson was missing about 4:30 a.m.
Wilson's body was found by HFD and Coast Guard rescuers a couple hours later.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Rep Tulsi Gabbard issued statements on the drowning Saturday evening.
"The thoughts of the people of Hawaii, as no doubt of every fan in Aloha Stadium tonight, are with the Wilson family," Abercrombie said. "It is especially tragic when the life of one so young and with so much potential is ended so abruptly.
"Willis had returned home to Hawaii to contribute as a Rainbow Warrior and build his future as part of our university ohana. We extend our deepest Aloha to his family, friends and teammates, and we wish them some of his strength in the days ahead."
Gabbard said: "I was deeply saddened to learn the devastating news that Willis Wilson, one of the Warriors' running backs, had drowned earlier this morning. I can't imagine the shock, pain, and sadness that his family, his team, and the UH ohana is feeling right now, but I pray the Wilsons and his extended family can find some peace and strength through this difficult time."
Coach Norm Chow said in a statement: "We are very saddened by the news of Willis' passing. He was a very fun-loving young man, who was well-liked by his teammates.
"He overcame some obstacles in his life and he was the perfect lesson to our team to never quit. Our thoughts and prayers are with Willis' family during this difficult time."
Wilson was a walk-on running back at Washington for three years before transferring to Hawaii this year. He was on the travel roster for the first three games of the season but did not play.