Kent State starting center dies at 21

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Kent State starting center dies at 21
In this Aug. 2014, photo provided by Kent State University, Jason Bitsko poses during football photo day in Kent, Ohio. Kent State says Bitsko has died and that police believe he passed away from an undetermined medical issue. He was found unresponsive in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Kent State University)
In this undated photo provided by Kent State University, center Jason Bitsko is congratulated during an BCAA football game. Kent State says Bitsko has died and that police believe he passed away from an undetermined medical issue. He was found unresponsive in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Kent State University)
UNIVERSITY PARK, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 21, 2013: Offensive linemen Jason Bitsko #54 and Phil Huff #75 of the Kent State Golden Flashes run onto the field before a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. The Penn State Nittany Lions won 34-0.(Photo by David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY PARK, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 21, 2013: Offensive linemen Jason Bitsko #54 and Phil Huff #75 of the Kent State Golden Flashes run onto the field before a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. The Penn State Nittany Lions won 34-0.(Photo by David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
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CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kent State football player Jason Bitsko, who was slated to start at center for the Golden Flashes this season, died Wednesday.

Police believe he passed away from an undetermined medical issue, the school said. The school said in a release the 21-year-old Bitsko was found unresponsive in the bedroom of his off-campus apartment shortly before 9 a.m.

When Bitsko failed to show up at practice, calls were placed to Bitsko's roommate, who called 911 after finding Bitsko in his bed. Brimfield Police arrived on the scene within three minutes of the call.

Bitsko was in his fourth year with the Golden Flashes. He started all 12 games in 2013, and received an award during this year's spring game for "exemplifying hard work and dedication."

"Kent State University and the entire Kent community mourns his passing," said Joel Nielsen, the school's athletic director. "We are heartbroken by the news of Jason's death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and everyone whose lives he touched."

Bitsko played at Huber Heights High School, the alma mater of Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.

Bitsko's teammates were informed of Bitsko's death at the end of the morning practice.

"Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family," coach Paul Haynes said. "As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time."

The school said it is providing counseling services and support to student-athletes and athletic staff members to cope with the tragedy.

The last post on Bitsko's Twitter account - (at)isthatbitsko - was dated Aug. 14:

"There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Make sure you use one of those to thank god for everything you have (hash)stayfocused," it read.

College Football Power Rankings
Kent State starting center dies at 21

#25 - Washington Huskies

Pac-12

130 points

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

#25 - Washington Huskies

Pac-12

130 points

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

#24 - Missouri Tigers

SEC

134 points

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

#24 - Missouri Tigers

SEC

134 points

(AP Photo/Tim Sharp, File)

#23 - North Carolina Tar Heels

ACC

194 points

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)

#23 - North Carolina Tar Heels

ACC

194 points

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

#22 - Nebraska Cornhuskers

Big Ten

226 points

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

#22 - Nebraska Cornhuskers

Big Ten

226 points

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

#21 - Texas A&M Aggies

SEC

238 points

(AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

#21 - Texas A&M Aggies

SEC

238 points

(AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

#20 - Kansas State Wildcats

Big 12

242 points

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

#20 - Kansas State Wildcats

Big 12

242 points

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

#20 - Kansas State Wildcats

Big 12

242 points

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

#20 - Kansas State Wildcats

Big 12

242 points

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

#19 - Arizona State Sun Devils

Pac-12

357 points

(Rick Scuteri/AP Images)

#19 - Arizona State Sun Devils

Pac-12

357 points

(AP Photo)

#19 - Arizona State Sun Devils

Pac-12

357 points

(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

#18 - Ole Miss Rebels

SEC

424 points

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

#18 - Ole Miss Rebels

SEC

424 points

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

#18 - Ole Miss Rebels

SEC

424 points

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

#17 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Division 1 FBS Independents

445 points

(Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)

#16 - Clemson Tigers

ACC

536 points

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

#15 - USC Trojans

Pac-12

626 points

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

#14 - Wisconsin Badgers

Big Ten

637 points

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

#13 - LSU Tigers

SEC

776 points

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

#12 - Georgia Bulldogs

SEC

843 points

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

#11 - Stanford Cardinal

Pac-12

885 points

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

#10 - Baylor Bears

Big 12

966 points

(AP Photo/LM Otero, file)

#9 - South Carolina Gamecocks

SEC

1,015 points

(AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)

#8 - Michigan State Spartans

Big Ten

1,080 points

(AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

#8 - Michigan State Spartans

Big Ten

1,080 points

(AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

#7 - UCLA Bruins

Pac-12

1,106 points

(AP Photo/Victor Calzada,File)

#6 - Auburn Tigers

SEC

1,198 points

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

#5 - Ohio State Buckeyes

Big Ten

1,207 points

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

#4 - Oklahoma Sooners

Big 12

1,324 points

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

#3 - Oregon Ducks

Pac-12

1,334 points

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

#3 - Oregon Ducks

Pac-12

1,334 points

(AP Photo/Eric Gay,File)

#3 - Oregon Ducks

Pac-12

1,334 points

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

#2 - Alabama Crimson Tide

SEC

1,361 points

(AP Photo/Skip Martin)

#1 - Florida State Seminoles

ACC

1,496 points

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

#1 - Florida State Seminoles

ACC

1,496 points

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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