University of Albany coach, team mourn death of NFL draft prospect Amitral 'AJ' Simon

Amitral "AJ" Simon, a former defensive lineman for the University at Albany’s football team and a prospect for the 2024 NFL draft, died at the age of 25 on Wednesday, according to a statement released by the school.

The NFL prospect's death comes just a week before the league's draft.

The cause of Simon’s death has not yet been disclosed.

University of Albany mourns former player's death

Albany’s football program paid tribute to Simon in a heartfelt social media post: "AJ was a tremendous young man and an exceptional teammate throughout his time at UAlbany. He was a role model both on and off the field, serving as a pillar of strength for this program over the last two years. He will be profoundly missed."

Albany coach Greg Gattuso expressed his grief and love for Simon in a statement on social media: "Two joyous years coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon. My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you, AJ, and will always have a special place in my heart for #8."

What happened to Amitral "AJ" Simon?

No cause of death has been reported as of Thursday.

Simon's outstanding football career

Simon's outstanding performance last season, which included 55 tackles and 12.5 sacks, earned him first-team All-CAA honors. His defensive showing was instrumental as the Great Danes went 11-4 to reach their first-ever Coastal Athletic Association title. They would then go on to make the semifinals of the 2023 FCS playoffs. ESPN ranked the talented defensive lineman as the 448th prospect in the upcoming NFL draft.

Simon played two seasons at Albany after being a student-athlete at Bloomsburg University. Hailing from Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, Simon's exceptional talent and dedication to the sport will not be forgotten.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: AJ Simon, Albany football player, dies one week before NFL draft