Dwane Simmons, a defensive back who was entering his senior year at Washburn, was killed while Ballentine — a cornerback who was the Giants’ sixth-round pick — is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries, the university said in a statement. Police officers responded to reports of shots fired about 12:45 a.m. Sunday in Topeka, WIBW reported. Simmons was found with a gunshot wound and pronounced dead at the scene.
“We are aware of the tragic situation and continue to gather information. We have spoken to Corey, and he is recovering in the hospital. Our thoughts are with Dwane Simmons’ family, friends and teammates and the rest of the Washburn community,” the Giants said in a statement.
The school postponed a scheduled news conference Sunday to celebrate Ballentine being selected as the 180th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday.
Washburn President Dr. Jerry Farley said Simmons was killed in a “senseless act.’
“Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general,” Farley said in a statement. “This was a terrible way to end a day which should have been a day of celebration and a day to look forward to Dwane's upcoming year at Washburn and the beginning of Corey's professional career.”
Head coach Craig Schurig called Simmons “one of the most energetic and well-liked players.”
“Dwane's infectious smile and love for football and his teammates was truly inspirational. Our prayers of healing go out to his family, his parents Navarro and Yasmine Simmons and Chaquilla Williams,” Schurig said.
Ballentine was the sixth Washburn University football player to be drafted and the first since 2008, when Cary Williams was selected by the Tennessee Titans, the university said. Ballentine appeared in 46 games and won the 2018 Cliff Harris Award for the small college defensive player of the year.
He was also the first Ichabod to be selected for the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl.