|Kent State Athletics|
|Kent State offensive lineman Jason Bitsko was expected to start at center this season.|
Kent State starting center Jason Bitsko died Wednesday morning, the school announced. He was 21.
Cleveland TV station WOIO reported that calls were placed to Bitsko's apartment after he failed to show up for morning practice. His roommate called 911 after finding Bitsko in bed. Teammates were told of his death -- the cause is unknown -- at the end of practice.
"Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family," Kent State coach Paul Haynes said in a statement. "As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time."
Kent State tweeted out this tribute to Bitsko early Wednesday afternoon:
Sad day for the kent state family! I'm shocked by this news!! #RIP54 love you bro— Dri Archer #⃣1⃣ (@Dri_Archer1) August 20, 2014
Bitsko started at right tackle for the Golden Flashes last season and was moved to center in the spring. He is from Huber Heights, Ohio, and was a teammate at Wayne High with Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
Bitsko used his twitter feed to frequently pass along words of wisdom. His final tweet:
There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Make sure you use one of those to thank god for everything you have #stayfocused— Baby Elephant (@isthatbitsko) August 14, 2014
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.