Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box has died, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office in Oklahoma City said Thursday.
Austin Box was expected to be the Sooners’ starting middle linebacker this fall as a senior.Box’s body was being transported to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.
Oklahoma City television station KFOR reported that Box was found unresponsive in El Reno, an Oklahoma City suburb, and was transported to a hospital in Oklahoma City, where he died.
“The university family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of student-athlete Austin Box,” university president David Boren said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”
Box, a senior from Enid, Okla., was expected to be the Sooners’ starting middle linebacker after spring practice.
Box started in six games for Oklahoma during the past two seasons. As a junior, he recorded his second career interception in a win over Oklahoma State and recorded eight tackles as Oklahoma beat Connecticut in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
According to The Oklahoman, Sooners coach Bob Stoops is overseas.
“Austin Box will be greatly missed by his many friends and teammates in the Athletics Department and all across campus,” athletic director Joe Castiglione said in the statement. Grief counselors are being made available to members of the football team and Box’s close friends, Castiglione said.