Home Sports AJ Simon, ex-Albany star and 2024 NFL Draft hopeful, dead at 25

AJ Simon, ex-Albany star and 2024 NFL Draft hopeful, dead at 25

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Albany defensive lineman Amitral “AJ” Simon, who had hopes of getting selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, has died, the university announced Wednesday.

He was 25.

No cause of death was provided.

Star Albany defensive lineman Amitral “AJ” Simon, who had hopes of getting selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, has died, the university announced Wednesday. twitter/asimonxxi

“The UAlbany football program was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral “AJ” Simon this morning,” the football team said in a statement Wednesday.

“AJ was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany. He was a role model both on and off the field, serving as a pillar to this program over the last two years. He will be profoundly missed.”

The team also shared a post on X with the caption: “We love you, 8” with a purple heart emoji.

Simon, a Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania native, started his collegiate career at Division II Bloomsburg University of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference — where he was a 2021 First Team All-Conference standout — before playing his last two seasons for the Great Danes.

He dominated in his senior season at Albany, racking up 55 total tackles — 37 solo — along with 12.5 sacks as the Great Danes went 11-4 on their way to their first-ever Coastal Athletic Association title before reaching the semifinals of the 2023 FCS playoffs.

Simon starred as a senior with Albany last season. twitter/asimonxxi

For his part, Simon came away with numerous accolades including All-CAA First Team Defense, FCS Football Central First Team All-American, Stats Perform FCS All-America Third Team and Phil Steele All-CAA First Team.

“Two joyous [years] coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon,” Albany head coach Greg Gattuso wrote on X. “My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8.”

Simon announced his decision in December to enter the NFL draft in a statement shared on his social media, and on April 1, Simon worked out as part of Albany’s Pro Day in hopes of catching on to an NFL squad.

Tom and Mary Casey Stadium on the campus of the University at Albany. Getty Images

According to Pro Football Talk, Simon had a pre-draft visit with the Patriots last week, with ESPN ranking him as the No. 448 prospect in this year’s draft class.

One of Simon’s teammates, linebacker Jahlil Johnson, said the defensive lineman made an impact in many lives.

“Went to war with you and about you brother… what’s understood doesn’t need to be explained. You left an impact on everyone you touched,” Johnson wrote on X. “You truly were a special kind of person could light up any room so glad to have shared a relationship with you.

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