Tragedy struck the UCLA football program on Sunday as redshirt freshman wide receiver Nick Pasquale passed away after being struck by a vehicle, according to Steve Breazeale and Jim Shilander of the San Clemente Times.
Orange County, Calif., police were reportedly called at 1:27 a.m. local time after Pasquale's body was found in the road. According to Breazeale and Shilander, two cars were driving in tandem, and while one was able to avoid Pasquale, the other could not.
An undersized wide receiver at 5'7" and 172 pounds, Pasquale, 20, scratched and clawed his way onto the Bruins roster. He was redshirted last year as a freshman, and he hadn't yet recorded a reception this year, but his hard-working style fit in well with Jim Mora's UCLA squad.
Pasquale walked on to the UCLA football team last year after a standout career at San Clemente High School. According to the report, San Clemente High School head football coach Jaime Ortiz had high praise for Pasquale as a player and a person.
“He was a vocal and physical leader for our teams," said Ortiz. "During his senior year he was the heart and soul of that team. He was everything you wanted in a player."
Mora commented on the tragic news, (via Jack Wang of InsideSocal.com).
Jim Mora: "(Nick) was a great teammate who was loved and respected by his entire team. Our thoughts are with the Pasquale family."— Jack Wang (@thejackwang) September 8, 2013
Alcohol was reportedly not a factor with regard to the two cars involved in the incident, and an investigation is ongoing to determine how Pasquale ended up in that situation.
Due to an opening-week thrashing of Nevada, UCLA is currently ranked No. 16 in the AP Top 25 Poll. The Bruins have a huge game coming up this week against No. 23 Nebraska, but they will be playing with heavy hearts as they honor the memory of their fallen teammate and friend.
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