Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead
Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, 21, was found dead Tuesday in an apartment in Pullman, Washington, according to police.
Hilinski suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, and a rifle and suicide note were found next to him, according to Pullman police.
Officers responded to Hilinski’s apartment to conduct a welfare check after he “did not show up for practice earlier in the day,” police said.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said in a statement. “He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Hilinski, a Claremont, California, native, just finished his redshirt sophomore season for the Cougars. He started the team’s bowl game against Michigan State and was expected to take over the starting role next season. He enrolled at Washington State in January 2015 after attending Upland High School in Southern California.
At times this season, Hilinski has looked like a better quarterback than Luke Falk, the Pac-12’s all-time passing leader and NFL Draft prospect. Falk was benched in favor of Hilinski on multiple occasions this season. Tyler threw for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns. His most memorable outing came in the second week of the season when he led Washington State from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boise State 47-44 in triple overtime. Hilinski came off the bench to throw for 240 yards and three touchdowns, and was carried off the field after the victory.
“The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends,” interim athletic director John Johnson said. “Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.”
Hilinski’s younger brother, Ryan, is a highly regarded quarterback prospect in the Class of 2019.
Ryan Hilinski issued a statement later Tuesday.
“We, as a family, are grieving after receiving news that my brother, Tyler Hilinski took his own life this afternoon,” the statement read. “We are in complete shock and disarray. Tyler was the kid that put a smile on everybody’s face when they were down, especially his family. We will mourn the loss of Tyler for some time but celebrate the way he lived his life every day.”