The college football world lost a pair of standout young men last week when Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were involved in a car accident on July 23. The pair, along with LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye, were working at a camp for high school students outside of Milwaukee when their car lost control on a stormy night and struck a tree. While Delahoussaye survived, Foltz and Sadler perished in the accident.
While they may be gone physically, their friends, coaches, and teammates are working to ensure their spirit lives on.
Spartan coach Mark Dantonio was just one voice of many that rang out to remember Sadler, a former All-American. Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, and Chicago Bears running back Jeremy Langford were among the many with Michigan State ties who took to Twitter with their own tributes. The Omaha World-Herald reflected on how Sadler endeared himself to Nebraska fans through interactions with a fake Bo Pelini on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Michigan State University established the Mike Sadler Legacy Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor its student-athlete. That endowment, created in conjunction with the Sadler family and spurred by the support of former MSU punter Craig Jarrett and countless alumni, will help fund scholarships for Spartan football players moving forward.
The outpouring of support for Nebraska's Foltz, the 2015 Big Ten Punter of the Year, has been similarly striking. Coach Mike Riley and his players withdrew from the Big Ten Media Days event to properly mourn their fallen teammate. As with Sadler and his family of Spartans, Cornhusker Twitter turned into a deluge of memorials for the young athlete. Current and former Nebraska standouts like Ameer Abdullah, Tommy Armstrong Jr., and Rex Burkhead expressed their condolences.
ESPN's Joe Tessitore took to the airwaves to opine on how special Foltz and Sadler were not just as players, but as human beings. Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone announced he will change his uniform number to 27 to honor his departed friend. The Grand Island Independent examined the wide-reaching impact he had in central Nebraska in just 22 short years.
And Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany took a moment to recognize each of the former all-conference standouts in a statement released on Monday.
We join the Nebraska and Michigan State communities in sending our thoughts and prayers to the families, teammates, coaches, administrators and friends who have been impacted by the tragic loss of Sam Foltz and Mike Sadler. While we are deeply saddened by their untimely loss, we also recognize the impact they had and the success they achieved as students, athletes, citizens and representatives of their respective communities and institutions. On behalf of the Big Ten, we greatly appreciate the enduring contributions made by these two young men, and our hearts go out to their families during this difficult time.
Sadler was 24 years old at the time of his passing and preparing for his first semester of law school at Stanford this fall. Foltz was 22 and was expected to be Nebraska's special teams ace in 2016.