College football’s offseason has begun with a shocking tragedy.
Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead Tuesday afternoon in his Pullman, Wash., according to police. He was 21.
Officers went to Hilinski’s apartment to do a welfare check after he didn’t report to Washington State’s practice Monday and found him dead of a gunshot wound to the head, which they believed to be self-inflicted. Officers also found a rifle and a suicide note next to Hilinski’s body and are investigating his death as a suicide.
Hilinski was a redshirt sophomore who backed up starting QB Luke Falk for most of the season. The Claremont, Calif., native started the Cougars’ bowl game against Michigan State, however, and was expected to take over the starting role next season.
Hilinski’s death was met with shock and sadness on campus.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler?s passing,” Washington State head coach Mike Leach said in a statement, via USA TODAY Sports. “He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Several Washington State players reacted to the news on social media, including defensive back Skyler Thomas and fellow backup quarterback John Bledsoe.
Hilinski’s brother Ryan, a junior quarterback at Orange (Calif.) Lutheran High School, also posted to social media following the tragic news.