Arkansas Razorbacks tight end Garrett Uekman was found dead in his dorm room early Sunday morning of unknown causes, according to a report by Adam Alter of KNWA/KARK on Twitter.
According to the Associated Press, the university said Uekman was pronounced dead at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville on Sunday afternoon.
Yahoo Sports reported that Uekman's teammates were informed shortly thereafter of the tight end's death in a meeting and were spotted embracing outside the football complex.
The university also said Uekman was found by his roommate unconscious and unresponsive in his dorm room on campus around 11:15 a.m. Sunday and had last been seen playing video games by the same roommate approximately an hour earlier.
When emergency services personnel arrived, Uekman was in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at 12:10 p.m.
Garrett Uekman was a special member of our family, and we are all saddened by his passing, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said in a statement. His loss is a terrible shock, and it makes you realize how precious life is.
University police Lt. Mat Mills told the AP that there were no suspicious circumstances about Uekman's death, and his body will be sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.
Uekman, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman, had played in nine of the Razorbacks' first eleven games this season - including Saturday's 44-17 rout over Mississippi State - though he didn't record any statistics because he redshirted in 2010. News of Uekman's death came just hours after the team returned to Fayetteville, Ark., from the game against Mississippi State in Little Rock, Uekman's home town.
According to the Arkansas athletic Web site, Uekman was enrolled in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in applied exercise science, and was named to the Razorback Honor Roll in the fall of 2010.
Uekman's parents, Danny and Michelle, released a statement through the university.
Our son was living his dream of going to the U of A and playing football for the Razorbacks, the statement read. He loved his school, his coaches, and his teammates and classmates, and was an influence and inspiration to so many people. We ask for your love and prayers for Garrett, our family and his friends as we all cope with this heavy and painful loss.
Uekman's death comes as Arkansas was promoted to number three in both major polls Sunday morning, its highest ranking since joining the SEC in 1991. The Razorbacks play No. 1 LSU Friday in a game with major conference and national championship implications. Upsetting LSU can propel them into the SEC championship game and possibly the national title game.