NY College Football Star Dies At 25, Week Before NFL Draft

A former college football standout in New York died at age 25, just a week before the NFL Draft.

AJ Simon

AJ Simon

Photo Credit: University at Albany football

Amitral “AJ” Simon, a defensive lineman for the University at Albany, announced late last year that he was entering his name in the draft.

"He was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany," the UAlbany football program said in a statement announcing his death on Wednesday, April 17. "He will be profoundly missed."

Simon's cause of death has not yet been released.

The 6-foot-1, 270-pound Simon, a native of Pennsylvania from Coolbaugh Township in Monroe County, was a first-team All-CAA defensive selection last year. 

He played in high school at Pocono Mountain West and was a first-team all-conference selection at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania before transferring to UAlbany before the 2022 season.

Simon was the No. 2-ranked small-college prospect for the NFL Draft, according to CBS Sports, which wrote, "Simon is not being talked about enough as one of the top edge rushers in the class. He's gotten better each season, going from Division II Bloomsburg to FCS UAlbany, to having a stellar week of work at the Hula Bowl." 

"Two joyous years coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon," UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso said in a statement. "My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8."

The 2024 NFL draft will occur from Thursday, April 25 to Saturday, April 27. 

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