A freshman defensive lineman on the Texas A&M University football team died Tuesday morning in an Albuquerque, N.M., car accident.
Polo Manukainiu, 19, was killed in a rollover car accident while driving home from Utah, Texas A&M University officials confirmed to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this morning. Manukainiu was the driver of the vehicle.
Besides Manukainiu, high school football player Lolo Uhatafe, 13, and Utah football recruit Gaius Vaenuku, 18, were killed in the accident, My Fox DFW reports. The crash’s victims were reportedly related to each other. A pair of additional passengers, both teenagers, also suffered serious injury.
Shortly before the fatal car accident, Manukainiu posted a message to his Twitter account. “22 hour drive back to Texas on no sleep. Oh my,” wrote Manukainiu. Authorities have yet to reveal the cause of the accident, and it is not yet known whether Manukainiu’s apparent exhaustion played a role in the events leading to his death.
Manukainiu, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman, was recruited as part of Texas A&M football’s 2012 singing class, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. School officials are reportedly still gathering information on his fatal accident, and are expected to make a statement later today.
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Johnny Manziel, quarterback of the Texas A&M football team and Manukainiu’s teammate, took to Twitter on Tuesday to mourn the teenager’s death. “Head hurts waking up to news about Polo.. I think I speak for everyone on our team when I say we love you brother you will be missed [sic],” Manziel wrote.
A standout defensive end at Euless Trinity High School in Texas, Manukainiu was expected to contribute to Texas A&M’s defense in 2013 after redshirting last season. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound teenager was a former four-star recruit in high school, and was ranked by ESPNU as the 33rd best defensive end in the nation, according to the official Texas A&M football website.