College football player Jake Ehlinger was found dead on Thursday at age 20

By Maria Pasquini
May 07, 2021 03:40 PM
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Jake Ehlinger
| Credit: Tim Warner/Getty

The Texas Longhorns are paying tribute to Jake Ehlinger, their 20-year-old linebacker who died on Thursday. 

"Our hearts are broken. We love you Jake. You'll be dearly missed, but never forgotten," read one post from the University of Texas Football Team's official Twitter account. 

Another tribute shared on the team's Instagram page featured a video of Ehlinger on the field and sharing laughs with his teammates. "We love you Jake. 💔🤘," the emotional video was captioned. 

Westlake High School also mourned the athlete's death. "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the passing of #LifetimeChap Jake Ehlinger," the Austin, Texas, school wrote, alongside a clip showing an impressive touchdown he scored during his senior year.

"Jake was a loving son, a brother, a teammate and a team captain with an incredible ability to make those around him smile," the school continued. "Our thoughts are with the Ehlinger family and loved ones. Peace be with you."

Ehlinger was found near the UT campus around 12:20 p.m. local time, Austin Police officers told NBC News on Thursday. Authorities did not give any additional details, but they told the outlet that his death does not appear to be suspicious.

"Words cannot express the depth of our sadness and the huge void we are feeling, but above all else, our hearts pour out to Sam, Jena, Morgen and the entire Ehlinger family," UT's head football coach Steve Sarkisian said in a statement previously obtained by KVUE ABC.

"Jake was a tremendous person and was everything you could ask for in a student-athlete. Being a Longhorn meant everything to him, and he truly embodied all that it means to be one," Sarkisian continued.  

UT Athletics Director Chris Del Conte added that he is "truly broken" and "devastated" to learn about Jake's passing. "Jake was an amazing young man from an extraordinary family with such a bright future ahead of him. It's just such a tragedy that we are all really struggling with," he said in a statement, according to the outlet.

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Jake's older brother, Sam Ehlinger — who also played for the Texas Longhorns — recently joined the Indianapolis Colts after being selected by the team in the 2021 NFL Draft.

A spokesperson from the Colts told the American-Statesman on Thursday that the team was working to get Sam, who has already started rookie training, back home to Texas.

Colts owner Jim Irsay also tweeted his condolences on Thursday, writing on social media, "We grieve and weep with the Ehlinger family. Prayers, love and support."

Jake is survived by his brother Sam, sister Morgen Ehlinger and mother Jena Ehlinger.