At 1:32 p.m. on Monday afternoon, Polo Manukainiu, a redshirt freshman football player at Texas A&M sent out this tweet as he began his drive from Utah to Texas:
Later that night, just hours after the tweet, he died in a car crash near Albuquerque.
Andrew Uhatafe, 13, and Gaius Vaenuku, 18, an incoming freshman football player at Utah, also passed away during the accident on U.S. Route 550 in Cuba, New Mexico. Two others in the car suffered unknown injuries.
Manukainiu led Trinity High School to an undefeated season in in 2011 and was the 30th-ranked defensive end in the nation when he was recruited.
Teammate Johnny Manziel sent out this tweet after hearing the news:
Heart 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
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) July 30, 2013
After redshirting last season, Manukainiu was expected to compete for a spot on the team’s defensive line this season when the Aggies open camp on Monday.
This is a terrible tragedy. We will continue to keep you updated as news about the surviving passengers’ statuses and the cause of the accident comes out.