For the second time in less than two years, the Texas A&M football team is dealing with the death of a player in a car accident.
Defensive lineman Polo Manukainiu, a redshirt freshman from Euless Trinity, died in a car accident during a trip home from Utah according to the school. Officials say alcohol was not involved in the crash.
According to myfoxdfw.com, the accident occurred Monday night north of Albuquerque, N.M. Two others in the vehicle – Utah football recruit Gaius Vaenuku and Euless Trinity football player Lolo Uhatafe – were also killed in the accident on Highway 550.
New Mexico State Police say Manukainiu and Vaenuku were passengers in the vehicle when it drifted off the road and rolled over after the driver overcorrected.
The 6-5, 275-pound Manukainiu redshirted last year. He was a two time All-District 6-5A defensive end at Trinity and was ranked the No. 39 defensive end nationally coming out of Trinity, according to Scout.com.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin responded Tuesday morning to the tragic news.
“We lost a terrific young man,” Sumlin said. “Polo was loved by his teammates and coaches. Anyone who came in contact with him was struck by his sense of humor and smile. My heart aches for his mom and family members.”
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham also released a statement following the loss of Vaenuku.
“Everyone who knew Gaius is heartbroken today,” Kyle Whittingham said. “He was the kind of young man who lit up a room and his future in football and life had no boundaries. Words cannot express our devastation over the loss of Gaius.”
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel took to Twitter to express his feelings.
Heart hurts waking up to news about Polo.. I think I speak for everyone on our team when I say we love you brother you will be missed