MSU football player Sam Westmoreland found dead at a church

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A promising young football player for Mississippi State University football was found dead inside a nearby church days before his 19th birthday.

Sam Westmoreland, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, was found Wednesday after authorities were called to the Blackjack Missionary Baptist Church in Starkville, police said in a statement to TMZ.

His cause of death is unknown but authorities are continuing to investigate.

Mississippi State freshman offensive lineman Sam Westmoreland.
Mississippi State freshman offensive lineman Sam Westmoreland.
Sam Westmoreland was 18-years-old, two days shy from his 19th birthday.
Sam Westmoreland was 18-years-old, two days shy of his 19th birthday.

A spokesperson for the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office said there was “no reason to suspect foul play” at this time.

The 6-foot-4 freshman offensive tackle was majoring in industrial technology. At Tupelo High School, he was named to the 2022 Northeast Mississippi Football Coaches Association All-Star Game and had back-to-back playoff appearances in 2019 and 2020.

“The Mississippi State Athletics Family is heartbroken by the sudden death of Sam Westmoreland,” head football coach Mike Leach said in a statement. “Sam was a beloved son, brother and teammate, and a tremendous young man with a limitless future. He will always be remembered and deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him.

Authorities discovered Sam Westmoreland’s body at Blackjack Missionary Baptist Church in Starkville, Mississippi.
Authorities discovered Sam Westmoreland’s body at Blackjack Missionary Baptist Church in Starkville, Mississippi.
Twitter / @samuelwestmore2
Sam Westmoreland was a freshman at Mississippi State.
Sam Westmoreland was a freshman at Mississippi State.
Twitter/@samuelwestmore2

“The entire MSU Family mourns as our thoughts and prayers go out to the Westmoreland family. Our highest priority is the support of the Westmoreland family and our student-athletes during this troubling time.”

In a separate statement, Mississippi State athletics director John Cohen said, “We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of Sam Westmoreland. Mississippi State is a family, and we are all mourning during this trying time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Westmoreland family and everyone who knew and loved Sam.”

Mississippi State president Mark E. Keenum added, “One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned while leading this great university is that the tragic loss of one of our students diminishes all of our students — and all of us at Mississippi State feel the impact of Sam Westmoreland’s death.

Authorities do not suspect “foul play” on Sam Westmoreland.
Authorities do not suspect “foul play” on Sam Westmoreland.
Facebook / Samuel Westmoreland
Sam Westmoreland with his mother.
Sam Westmoreland with his mother.
Twitter / @samuelwestmore2
Sam Westmoreland was studying industrial technology at Mississippi State.
Sam Westmoreland was studying industrial technology at Mississippi State.
Facebook / Samuel Westmoreland

“My prayers are with Sam’s family and friends, with his MSU teammates and coaches, and with the Tupelo community during this most difficult time.”



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