Dwayne Haskins Jr., Steelers, former Ohio State quarterback, dies after being hit by truck

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. (7) walks on the field before the NCAA football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, October 6, 2018.

Former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., a Heisman finalist in his only season as a Buckeye starter, died Saturday morning after he was struck by a truck in Florida.

According to a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol, a fatal crash was reported at 6:37 a.m. on I-595 westbound between I-95 North and South involving a pedestrian and a dump truck. Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Indiana Miranda confirmed Haskins died after he was hit by a dump truck.

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Prior to the collision, Haskins was walking westbound on 595 and attempting to cross lanes on the highway for “unknown reasons,” Miranda wrote in an email.

Haskins was pronounced dead at the scene. A traffic homicide investigation is underway.

Haskins is survived by his wife, Kalabrya, parents Dwayne and Tamara, and a younger sister, Tamia, with whom he was extremely close.

Urban Meyer, his coach at Ohio State, told The Dispatch that he was devastated about Haskins' death.

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"He was one of the sweetest kids," Meyer said. "The players all loved him. My daughter (Nicki Meyer Dennis) just showed me a picture of him holding our grandson. I'm just heartbroken for that family."

Ohio State coach Ryan Day served as Haskins' position coach and was acting coach for the first three games of the 2018 season while Meyer was suspended.

"The loss of Dwayne is beyond tragic and extremely difficult to process," Day said on Twitter. "For those who knew him closely, he was much more than a great football player. He had a giant heart, old soul and an infectious smile. The Ohio State community and our entire football program are heartbroken."

Haskins would have turned 25 on May 3.

Haskins finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2018 after throwing for 50 touchdowns. Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray won the Heisman, with Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa the runner-up.

Haskins beat out Joe Burrow for the starting job that year. He threw for a Big Ten-record 4,831 yards and completed 70% of his passes. Haskins earned the Big Ten's Silver Football award as the conference's best player.

The 50 touchdowns were also a conference record. In all, he set 28 Ohio State records in 2018 as well as seven Big Ten records. He was named the conference's offensive player of the week a record six times.

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Against a Michigan defense ranked first nationally, Haskins torched the Wolverines for six touchdowns and 396 yards in a surprising 62-39 rout.

He also was a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten selection.

Haskins was reportedly training in south Florida. Quincy Avery, Haskins' private quarterback coach, tweeted a broken-heart emoji Saturday morning. He later tweeted, "My guy was supposed to be here Thursday..."

Haskins signed with Ohio State in 2016 as a four-star recruit from the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland. He redshirted as a freshman and was a backup to J.T. Barrett in 2017. In the Michigan game that year, Haskins replaced the injured Barrett and led OSU to a 31-20 comeback victory over the Wolverines.

In 2018, Haskins battled with Burrow to succeed Barrett as the Buckeyes' starter. Haskins was the presumptive front-runner because of his performance against Michigan. Burrow, who had broken his thumb in 2017, was unable to unseat Haskins in spring practice and transferred to LSU. Burrow then led the Tigers to the 2019 national championship and won the Heisman Trophy en route to becoming the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020.

"Tough to find the words," Burrow tweeted Saturday. " will be missed."

After his one season as an OSU starter, Haskins elected to enter the NFL draft. Haskins was the 15th overall pick of the 2019 draft by Washington. He was the first Buckeye quarterback taken in the first round since Art Schlichter went fourth in 1982.

Haskins' pro career was a disappointment. In two seasons with Washington, he threw for 12 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. Haskins spent last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin released a statement as well through the team.

"I am devastated and at a loss for words with the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins," he said. "He quickly became part of our Steelers family upon his arrival in Pittsburgh and was one of our hardest workers, both on the field and in our community. Dwayne was a great teammate, but even more so a tremendous friend to so many. I am truly heartbroken.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Kalabrya, and his entire family during this difficult time."

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said he was "shocked and saddened" by Haskins' death.

"He was a legend on the field and truly a tremendous human being," Smith said in a statement on Twitter. Prayers to the Haskins' family."

Dispatch reporter Joey Kaufman contributed to this story.

Bill Rabinowitz covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @brdispatch.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Dwayne Haskins, Steelers and ex-Ohio State star dies in car accident