Former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen was killed in a single car accident in Georgia in the early hours of Sunday morning.
ESPN reports that police say Lutzenkirchen, 23, was a passenger in the 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe and was ejected when the vehicle overturned multiple times.
Driver Joseph Ian Davis, 22, was partially ejected from the vehicle and was also killed, investigators said. Authorities said blood was drawn from Davis to determine whether alcohol was a factor in the crash. Troopers said 22-year-old Elizabeth Craig of Eatonton, Georgia and 20-year-old Christian Case of Dadeville, Alabama were injured.
Master Trooper B.N. Talley of the Georgia State Patrol told The Ledger-Enquirer that the driver of the Tahoe missed a stop sign and the vehicle traveled out of control for 450 feet into a graveyard.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn called Lutzenkirchen “a great player and competitor” and “a great teammate and friend off the field.”
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said Lutzenkirchen’s death was “a devastating tragedy for his family, the Auburn family and his countless friends.” He added
“Philip was a bright light this world desperately needed, and his death leaves a void that can’t possibly be filled.”
Lutzenkirchen played for Auburn from 2009 through 2012 where he set school records for a tight end with 14 career touchdown catches and seven during the 2011 season. He scored the winning touchdown against Alabama to preserve the national title run in 2010, performing an end zone dance later nicknamed “The Lutzie.”
His college career ended early when he opted to undergo hip surgery late in his senior season in 2012.
U.S.A. Today reports that the hip injury essentially prevented Lutzenkirchen from a career in the NFL. He signed a free-agent contract with the St. Louis Rams in 2013 but lasted just four months with the franchise before being released. He was in training camp with the Rams but was cut before the season began.
An outpouring of support from Auburn players and coaches via social media was almost immediate.
On Sunday, Auburn Football Tweeted a tribute to Lutzenkirchen.
A legacy forever remembered. We will miss you Lutz. pic.twitter.com/IexqxxoPa0
— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) June 29, 2014
This is not the first time this year that the Auburn Athletic department has mourned the loss of one of their own. In January, Former LPGA player Danielle Downey was also killed in a single vehicle accident. She was the university’s director of golf operations.
Philip Lutzenkirchen was a graduate of Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia. He was a volunteer assistant coach at Saint James School in Montgomery, Alabama and was working at a wealth management company.