The Washington State football team was rocked earlier this month when backup quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead from an apparent suicide.
Police were called to Hilinski’s apartment Jan. 16 after he didn’t appear for practice.
Authorities concluded that Hilinski died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Hilinski was only 21 and, from all accounts, absolutely beloved by his teammates.
In particular, Hilinski seemed to have a special bond with Washington State starting quarterback Luke Falk.
Falk posted a statement through Washington State’s Twitter account after the tragic news first broke.
“We are heartbroken and devastated with the passing of Tyler,” Falk wrote. “He was an amazing person who brought love and joy to everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.
“Tyler will be missed but I know you will walk beside us everyday. Thank you for your love and friendship. God bless and may you Rest In Peace. We love you Klink.”
To honor Hilinski, Falk made a noticeable change to his jersey for Saturday’s Senior Bowl.
Baker Mayfield and Luke Falk took some extra under-center snaps after practice. pic.twitter.com/89N6WDCkdY
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 23, 2018
Sharp-eyed observers immediately noticed that Falk wasn’t wearing his typical No. 4 jersey.
Falk was, instead, donning Hilinski’s No. 3 jersey.
It was a small but meaningful gesture from Falk.
It’s no surprise that Falk and Hilinski were so close.
One of Hilinski’s finest moments as a player came when he helped WSU storm back from a 21-point deficit against Boise State in a triple overtime thriller on Sept. 9.
The 21-point deficit was due in small part to Falk’s ineffectiveness that game before he left the game with a head injury.
The Reese’s Senior Bowl will take place Saturday in Mobile, Alabama.
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