Just a couple of days before the start of spring practice, tragedy has struck the Rice football program.
According to Houston’s ABC affiliate KTRK-TV, Blain Padgett was found dead in his apartment Friday. The television station’s website wrote that “Padgett was found at his home and apparently died in his sleep,” although there’s been no official determination as to the cause of the redshirt junior defensive end’s death.
The 21-year-old Padgett’s body was discovered after he didn’t show up for a workout Friday morning and a wellness check was performed, 247Sports.com reported.
“Our team is devastated by this news,” Owls head coach Mike Bloomgren said in a statement. “All of my thoughts right now are how best to help Blain’s family and his teammates in this very difficult period.”
“Our entire athletic department is in mourning over the loss of Blain Padgett,” a statement from Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard began. “Blain was a great friend and teammate and the sense of loss is overwhelming to his teammates, his friends, but most importantly to his family, who are in our thoughts and prayers. We will do everything in our power to provide assistance to our student-athletes in this incredibly difficult time.”
In 2016, Padgett was second on the team in tackles for loss with 5½ and led all linemen with 41 tackles. He played in just three games this past season.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those impacted by Padgett’s death.