17 year-old Folabi Akanbi was set to start his first day of college at MSU this fall. He signed with the football team in early February as an offensive lineman.
But on Wednesday, Akanbi collapsed while playing basketball with his friends outside of Houston, Texas. He died from a cardiac arrest.
Akanbi was a senior at Dawson Pearland High School.
"Our hearts go out to Folabi’s family and friends, and his teammates and coaches" MSU Football Coach Rob Ash said. "He was a wonderful young man who captivated everyone he met, and had such an incredibly bright future. This tragedy leaves us without words to properly express our sorrow.”
After Akanbi signed with the team, Ash said “He hasn’t played as much football as some, but he has tremendous upside. He’s going to be fun to watch.”
On signing day, February 6th, Ash said he was more impressed with Akanbi's academic skills then his extraordinary skills on the football field.
"Falabi's family is from Nigeria, his father is a doctor, his mother is a nurse. He's 6'5" and 290 so that got our attention also. But he's an outstanding student and his family's priority was to find an academic school first where he could also play Division I football. And they had offers from many, many schools around the state of Texas and neighboring states to Texas but he chose Montana State because of the academic program that he discovered in his research," Ash said.
Akanbi was set to major in chemical engineering.
On Akanbi's Twitter page, he posted in early February that he'd been waiting for signing day for a long time, and was excited to become a Bobcat and move to Montana.