Sam Westmoreland, a freshman offensive lineman for Mississippi State football, passed away unexpectedly, the team reported on Wednesday. He was 18. Westmoreland attended Tupelo High School and was a native of Tupelo.
According to Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Brett Watson, officers responded to a complaint at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Arriving at the Blackjack Missionary Baptist Church, which is roughly four miles from MSU’s campus, police discovered Westmoreland dead. There is no indication of foul play. Due to an ongoing inquiry, no more information was given.
Coach Mike Leach issued a statement saying, “The Mississippi State athletics family is grieved by the tragic death of Sam Westmoreland. “Sam was a cherished brother, son, and teammate who had a bright future ahead of him. Everyone who knew and loved him will always remember him and be terribly saddened by his absence. The whole MSU community is in mourning, and we send the Westmoreland family our best wishes. Supporting the Westmoreland family and our student-athletes during this trying time is our top concern.”
Leach did not take part in the Wednesday morning SEC coaches teleconference. Additionally, Mississippi State postponed its Wednesday post-practice media availability.
Athletic director John Cohen remarked, “We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of Sam Westmoreland. “We at Mississippi State are a family, and during this difficult time, we are all in grief. We send our condolences to Sam’s friends and family as well as the Westmoreland family.”
No information about his passing was provided by Mississippi State. The Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office, the MSU Division of Student Affairs, and the MSU Athletics Department are working with the university.
As the president of this outstanding university, Mark Keenum remarked, “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that the devastating loss of one of our students diminishes all of our students. And all of us at Mississippi State feel the impact of Sam Westmoreland’s death.” “During this most trying time, my thoughts and prayers are with Sam’s family and friends, his MSU teammates and coaches, and the Tupelo community.”
Westmoreland was named to the Region 2-6A second team after his senior year at Tupelo. In a statement, Tupelo coach Ty Hardin said, “Our heart hurts tonight with the passing of Sam Westmoreland.” “Sam was a great young man who became a great brother, son, and teammate. He was a leader, and his positivism was unparalleled. Sam was seen as a bright spot by his teammates and coaches, with a contagious smile. Even in his final year, he received a vote for team captain. His leadership, as well as its influence on our program, will live on indefinitely.”