Tragedy strikes football team

Arizona incoming freshman McCollins Umeh passed away on Tuesday afternoon following a conditioning session on the Arizona campus. Umeh, a defensive end from the Houston area, had moved to Tucson earlier in the week to get a jump-start on his Wildcat career.

McCollins Umeh was pronounced dead at 2:24 by the staff at University Medical Center. Umeh had just finished participating in what was being labeled as a "light conditioning session". According to Athletic Director Jim Livengood, Umeh was participating in a voluntary workout that was scheduled to last just 25-30 minutes.

"Words cannot even come close to describing what a tragedy this is for the Wildcat family, certainly the Umeh family and this University," Livengood said. "This young man, new to our University, never had to experience life at the University of Arizona as a student athlete. It's just overwhelming to think about his parents." According to Livengood, both Wildcat strength coaches and an athletic trainer were on the scene and immediately began emergency procedures.

"Everyone on hand did exactly what they needed to," Livengood said.

No further details, including the official cause of death, have been released.

According to eyewitnesses, the workout was concluding and Umeh was not laboring when he collapsed. Emergency crews responded to the incident and Umeh was taken away by ambulance around 1:50.

The University is waiting to release any details, so it is not known exactly what contributed to his death.

Umeh moved to town this week to begin working out with the team to get a head start on trying to see the field immediately. He was a four-star recruit and rated as one of the top-100 players in the state of Texas. He originally committed to Kansas State, but changed his mind to play for Arizona.

He was one of three Klein Forrest players coming to Arizona next season. Bobby McCoy and Dominic Patrick played with him last season and decided to pledge their allegiance to the Wildcats together. Gene Johnson, their head coach at Klein Forrest, accepted a graduate assistant spot with the Wildcats as well.

Mike Stoops was not available for comment, and is not expected to make any statements over the next few days. It is believed that Stoops was at the hospital shortly after Umeh was admitted.

Players were called to McKale Center at 3:30 where they were informed of the news. Cat Tracks did not attempt to speak with any players, but many were visibly shaken, a few in tears.

"Our thoughts and our prayers in every way are certainly with his family," Livengood said. "This is a very, very, very bad time."

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