Albany Football Star AJ Simon Dead at 25, 1 Week Before NFL Draft

"He was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany," the collegiate football team expressed in a statement

<p>AJ Simon/Instagram</p> Amitral “AJ” Simon

AJ Simon/Instagram

Amitral “AJ” Simon

Former University of Albany defensive lineman Amitral “AJ” Simon is dead. He was 25.

News of Simon's death comes a week before the start of the 2024 NFL Draft, which the collegiate football star announced he was entering in December 2023.

The school's football team shared his death on its official X account, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday, April 17.

"The UAlbany football program was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral "AJ" Simon this morning. He was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany," the statement read.

<p>AJ Simon/Instagram</p> Amitral “AJ” Simon

AJ Simon/Instagram

Amitral “AJ” Simon

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He was remembered as "a role model both on and off the field" who served "as a pillar to this program over the last two years."

"He will be profoundly missed," the team wrote at the end of their statement.

Head football coach Greg Gattuso also remembered Simon on X, expressing that he had "two joyous year coaching and becoming friends" with him.

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"My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8," his statement continued.

Taylor O'Connor, the team's director of digital content and communications shared that Simon would "text me for cool edits after the season ended and he started prepping for the NFL Draft."

"[He] was always so kind & appreciative of everything I sent him. I joked with him 'Don’t forget about me when you make it to the NFL!' He laughed and said 'Never!' " recalled O' Connor on X.

Simon began his collegiate career at Bloomsburg University before transferring to the University of Albany, where he was a 2023 All-CAA first-team defensive selection, Phil Steele All-CAA first-team selection, and FCS Football Central First Team All-American honoree.

The Pennsylvania native was also a talent off the field, as he was named a part of the 2023 Fall CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.

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According to the football team's announcement, Simon was recognized with honors, meaning that his GPA was between 3.0 and 3.7.

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