Former Ohio State and NFL Safety Malcolm Jenkins tweeted Saturday, noting the death of former Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr.
Both a native of New Jersey, the two did not play together in college. They were never professional teammates – Jenkins just retired after a career with the Saints and Eagles and Haskins spent in the NFL in Washington and Pittsburgh. But Haskins’ death at the age of 24 has resonated with many in the football fraternity, especially those with connections to Ohio State.
Haskins was frequently referred to as king, because that was what he aspired to, as ruler of the field.
“He was a really great king and friend to me and everyone who came around. Everyone you touched will miss you all your life,” Ohio offensive line officer Paris Johnson said in a tweet.
Haskins also adopted the lion as a symbol of his aspirations, choosing the nickname “Simba”, the name of the main character in the Disney movie “The Lion King”.
Haskell Jarrett, Buckeye’s former linebacker, posted on social media “Damn Simba. This ain’t real.”
“Fly High Simba” was echoed by another former member of the Ohio State Defense, Daron Lee. “See you when I get there.”
It wasn’t just the former Buckeyes team. CJ Stroud, the current OSU quarterback, shared his thoughts, providing in one post that he was “injured” and “lost for words”.
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith provided a statement: “Shocked and saddened by the devastating news of Dwayne. He was a legend on the court and a truly amazing human being. Prayers for the Haskins family.”
“Very devastated,” Ohio State coach Cory Dennis wrote. “He was a wonderful person, a wonderful friend, and a brother. No doubt where he is now. I love you Dwayne, rest in peace.”
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Coach Ryan Day, who was offensive coordinator when Haskins was at OSU, tweeted, “Losing Dwayne is tragic and very difficult to deal with. For those who knew him closely, he was more than just a great footballer. He had a giant heart, an old soul and a smile Contagious. The Ohio community and the entire football program are sad.”
Cam Heyward, a Pittsburgh and former Buckeyes teammate, said, “Dwayne meant so much to so many people. His smile was infectious and he was a guy you want to be around. We’re all in shock at losing him. We’re going to miss him too. We lost you so early. Luck, I had the chance to get to know you. RIP DH.”
Paris Campbell was the recipient of the majority of Haskins assists during the 2018 quarterback season. “LEGEND,” Campbell wrote simply before the publication of Haskins Standard Number 7.
Campbell had 12 of Haskins’ 50 passes that year, an astonishing feat that Buckeye almost didn’t mention in their letters. Instead, they focused on what kind of men and fellow Haskins found.
“Hard to find words…you will be missed,” tweeted Joe Burrow, who competed with Haskins for the top spot before moving to LSU and went on to take the Bengals to the Super Bowl during his sophomore year in the NFL.
Jordan Fuller mourned “one of my college roommates.” “We played the same 8th grade All-Star game… We talked about a reunion trip during one of those seasons, we just felt like we had time.”