Louisiana Tech running back Duplessis found dead

Louisiana Tech running back Tyrone Duplessis was found dead Thursday at his off-campus apartment.

The cause of the 21-year-old's death is unknown, pending an autopsy, according to the athletic department's associate media relations director Patrick Walsh.

Duplessis' teammates were informed of their friend's death on Thursday morning, a university statement said, adding that grief counseling was being made available to the players.

"We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tyrone Duplessis this morning," Louisiana Tech President Dan Reneau said in a statement.

"Tyrone was not only a valuable member of our football program, but much more importantly, he was a valued member of the Tech Family. This is a painful loss for our campus community and our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family."

Head coach Sonny Dykes described the death as "senseless."

"Tyrone was a valuable part of this football family," Dykes said. "This is a tragic, senseless loss, but he made a lasting impact on this team, university and everyone that knew him."

Duplessis carried the ball just seven times this past season as a redshirt sophomore for the Bulldogs, who finished 8-5 and lost 31-24 to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl.

The New Orleans native sat out the entire 2010 season due to injury. In his freshman season in 2009, Duplessis tallied 277 yards on 70 carries.