Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said on Tuesday.
Hilinski, 21, was discovered in his apartment next to a rifle and a suicide note, Pullman police said. Authorities said they conducted a welfare check on Hilinski after he failed to show up for practice earlier in the day.
Hilinski, a redshirt sophomore, was set to take over the starting quarterback job next season for the departing Luke Falk. Hilinski started the team’s Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State because Falk was unable to play due to a wrist injury.
Hilinski appeared in eight games during his sophomore season, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns. His most memorable game came in the second week of the season when he led Washington State from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boise State 47-44 in triple overtime. Hilinski threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns coming off the bench.
His only start came in the bowl game against Michigan State, although he played extensively in a loss to Arizona.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing,” Washington State head coach Mike Leach said in a statement. “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.”
Washington State interim athletic director John Johnson called Hilinski’s death devastating and said the football team was informed and met with a psychologist and a mental health counselor.
Reaction also poured in on Twitter from family, friends and coaches of Hilinksi.
Hilinski is from Claremont, Calif., and went to high school at nearby Upland. He arrived on campus in 2015 and redshirted before appearing in four games in 2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.