AJ Simon, University of Albany Defensive Lineman, Dead at 25 One Week Before NFL Draft

Amitral "AJ" Simon
Instagram/Amitral "AJ" Simon

The athlete died one week before the 2024 NFL draft.

Former Albany defensive lineman Amitral "AJ" Simon has died at age 25, the school announced Wednesday. Simon helped Albany reach the FCS playoff semifinals this past season and earned first-team All-CAA honors after recording 55 tackles (37 solo), 12.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. Simon posted five sacks and 10.5 tackles during the 2022 campaign after transferring from Division ll Bloomsburg.

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

Simon was considered a potential draft pick in next week's NFL Draft. He ranked No. 2 on CBS Sports' top 25 small college draft prospect list. A cause of death was not immediately released by the school.

"Two joyous year(s) coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon," Albany coach Greg Gattuso posted on social media. "My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8."

This story was originally published by CBS Sports on April 17, 2024 at 6:49 p.m. ET.