Sad news out of Pullman, Washington, as Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead on Tuesday of an Apparent Suicide. Hilinski, who was a redshirt sophomore for the Cougars football team, was found with a shotgun wound to the head, as well as a suicide note. The former Upland (CA) High School standout was supposed to challenge for the starting job in 2018, after showing a lot of promise in relief of Cougars star signal-caller Luke Falk last season.

Started the Holiday Bowl three weeks ago

While Hilinski was used sparingly as a redshirt Freshman in 2016, but he did earn the job of backup to Luke Falk.

Falk, who was one of the better signal-callers in the Pac-12 during his time with the Cougars, struggled at times last season. His struggles led head coach Mike Leach to turn to Hilinski, and the sophomore did not disappoint. In fact, Hilinski threw for over 500 yards against Arizona earlier in the season, showing the kind of promise that could have won him the starting job this upcoming season.

In the Cougars final game of the season, which happened to be a Holiday Bowl Game matchup against Michigan State, Hilinski got the starting nod over Falk, who skipped the game to an injured left wrist. While the Cougars lost 42-17 to the Spartans, Hilinski played well, as he passed for a game-high 272 yards.

Hilinski also threw for two touchdowns, while rushing for ten yards on five carries.

Cougars community mourns

Anytime a young person takes their own life; it is sure to cause ripples within the community they were a part of. That was evident on the campus of Washington State on Tuesday, as people remembered the young man whose life was lost.

Cougars head coach Mike Leach spoke about his former quarterback, and will certainly miss the young man who was the presumed starter for the team next season.

"We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler's passing," Leach said in a statement. "He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it.

The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

A life lost

The loss of Hilinski goes well beyond what he could have contributed to the football team this Fall. This was by all accounts a vibrant young man, who had his whole life ahead of him at 21-years old. His family will now be tasked with saying goodbye to someone who appeared to be so happy on the outside. People never know what is lying beneath the surface, and that becomes apparent when a person with seemingly so much to live for takes their own life.

The football program will move on, and the Cougars should be competitive in the Pac-12 again this upcoming season. Tyler's little brother, Ryan, who also plays quarterback, has accepted a scholarship to the school.

What will never be the same is the life of the Hilinski family, who will never be able to replace the spot that Tyler left in their hearts and the memories of the man he once was.

Prayers go out to the Hilinski family at this terrible time, and the hope is they will someday be able to regain the happiness they once knew. This story is bigger than football, and just maybe Tyler's death will make someone struggling with the same issues reach out and get the help they need.