Texas A&M said a senior offensive car accident Thursday when he swerved to avoid a buzzard in the road.
Joseph Villavisencio was on his way home to Jacksonville, Texas, when he turned his car into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler in a head-on collision on Highway 39, witnesses said.
He was 22.
Texas A&M said Villavisencio was among teammates earlier Thursday as they presented gifts for children and families at the Twin City Mission in Bryan, Texas.
Former head coach Mike Sherman remembered Villavisencio as "one of the most respectful and high character players I have ever coached."
"The world lost a very special person today," said Sherman, who was fired three weeks ago. "My heart aches for his mom, dad and sister, all of whom were so dear to him.
"His teammates, coaches and fellow students will remember him as someone who would do anything for anybody. I will always remember him as always offering me a smile whenever we talked and would always answer my questions with a simple, 'yes, coach' or 'no, coach.'"
Villavisencio, 22, is survived by his sister, Mikeala, mother, Christine, and father, Jose Villavisencio of Jacksonville, the school said. He was a true senior radiological health engineering major.