BYU offensive lineman Sione Veikoso was killed in a construction accident in his home state of Hawai'i on Friday.
"We are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic death of one of our brothers, Sione Veikoso," head coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement. "His passing is heartbreaking to all of us. We offer our deepest condolences and prayers to his family as we share in their grief. Our love for you is forever, Sione!"
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported a 15-foot retaining wall at a home in Kailua collapsed and trapped three construction workers.
Veikoso was one of three people trapped under the rubble. Firefighters rescued two of the workers, who were in serious but stable condition. Veikoso was pronounced dead at the scene.
"He was a gentle giant who loved his family," said his cousin Joshua Kava. "He was reliable and caring."
The 6'7", 305-pound redshirt freshman began his college career at Arizona State after completing a mission in Brazil for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He transferred to BYU in July and appeared in the Cougars' 52-26 win over Utah Tech on Nov. 19.
BYU beat SMU 24-23 in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 17. Veikoso's family told the Star-Advertiser he was to fly back to school next week.