Former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, a top player on the Tigers' 2010 National Championship squad, was killed in a car wreck early Sunday morning
The accident also took the life of UGA baseball player Ian Davis. Lutzenkirchen, 23, set numerous school records from the tight end position and had finished playing football after a hip surgery derailed his 2012 season.
Davis, 22, was a junior catcher who transferred from USC Sumter last season.
The accident occurred around 3:05 a.m. Sunday outside of LaGrange, Ga., according to USA Today Sports, who talked to the Georgia State Patrol Public Information Office.
Davis, the driver of the vehicle, apparently ran through a stop sign and lost control for 450 feet, overturning several times. The pair were killed in the accident, while two other passengers were taken to the West Georgia Medical Center.
Alcohol has not been ruled out as a contributing factor to the accident.
Career at Auburn
Lutzenkirchen finished his career at Auburn with the most touchdowns at tight end in school history, with 14. He also holds the single-season record for touchdowns, with seven in 2011.
The player was specifically known for coming up in clutch situations. He had three game-winning touchdowns in career, including a crucial winner in the waning moments of Auburn's 2010 game against in-state rival Alabama.
In that game, No. 2-ranked Auburn went down to No. 11 Alabama by 21 points in the first quarter. At the time, the Tigers were 11-0 and had to maintain their perfect record in order to play in the BCS National Championship game.
After going down 24-0 early in the second quarter, Auburn began its slow comeback, with one touchdown before the end of the half. It put up another two touchdowns in the third quarter to bring the score close, at 27-21.
Then Lutzenkirchen came up with the biggest play of his career.
With quarterback Cam Newton scrambling after heavy pressure, the tight end rolled out to the left toward the end zone. He caught the ball and took a step backward for the seven-yard touchdown.
The Tigers would win the national championship two months later, defeating Oregon 22-19. It seems almost silly to tout a player's athletic accomplishments upon his passing.
But in some ways, this is the only way for a public that didn't know him personally to remember and to reflect.
There will be saddened family members and friends, people who truly knew him for who he was and will miss birthdays lost and moments gone.
For what little part they can add to that remembrance, devoted fans will discuss small moments of glory on the gridiron.
It's not much and it's certainly not enough, but it is something. Our thoughts go to all those who knew Lutzenkirchen and Davis, either personally or from their time on the field.