Oklahoma City's NBC News affiliate, KFOR, is reporting that starting Sooners middle linebacker Austin Box has died, citing the local medical examiner's confirmation. Phil Cross, a reporter with OKC's FOX affiliate, has a statement from the El Reno, Okla. police department, which tells us that Box was found unresponsive at an El Reno residence, and taken to a local medical facility before being transferred to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. No further information is given on the cause of his condition, and an investigation into his death is reportedly underway.
The senior from Enid topped the Sooner's post-spring practice depth chart at MLB, heading up a young class at the position along with fellow senior Travis Lewis. Box battled multiple injuries over the course of his playing career in Norman, but was cited by SB Nation's Oklahoma blog in a spring camp roundup as a crucial impact player, even when hobbled:
When the guy is one the field he just has a knack for making plays. He brings one of those indescribable aspects to the defense where he isn't the best athlete out there, but when there is a play to be made you can pretty much guarantee he's going to be right there.
Box was 22 years old. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Oklahoma football community.