'Great Player, Better Person': Khyree Jackson, Minnesota Vikings Rookie, Dies at 24 After Triple Car Crash

Khyree Jackson, a 2024 NFL draftee, has died

Published Time: 06.07.2024 - 20:31:10 Modified Time: 06.07.2024 - 20:31:10

Khyree Jackson, a 2024 NFL draftee, has died. He was 24 years old.

The athlete, who was set to make his NFL debut this fall as the Minnesota Vikings' rookie cornerback, died in a "triple fatal car crash" in his home state of Maryland in the early morning of Saturday, July 6, according to a press release from the Maryland State Police.

Two of Jackson's former teammates at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School — Isaiah Hazel, 23, and Anthony Lytton, Jr., 24 — also died in the crash in Prince George’s County, police said. Hazel was driving the vehicle, a Dodge Charger, while Jackson was in the passenger seat. Lytton, meanwhile, was in the back.

There were three vehicles involved in the crash, including a Chevrolet Impala and a silver Infiniti, which was driven by Cori Clingman, per authorities. "Investigators believe Clingman attempted to change lanes while driving at a high rate of speed when she struck the Dodge Charger and then struck the Chevrolet Impala," police said. "The Charger subsequently traveled off of the right side of the roadway and struck multiple tree stumps where the vehicle came to rest."

Clingman and the two passengers in her Infiniti, as well as the Impala driver, are uninjured. Investigators think alcohol may have been a "contributing circumstance" in the crash.

The trio's former high school athletic department mourned the loss of the men in a post on X (formerly Twitter). "The Dr. Henry A. Wise Athletic Department sends condolences to the families and mourns the loss of Khyree Jackson (State Champ 2016 c/o '17) Anthony Lytton, Jr. (AJ) (State Champ 2015,16,17 c/o '18) and Isaiah Hazel (State Champ 2015, 16, 17 c/o '19)," the post read, adding: "#OnceAPumaAlwaysAPuma."

The Vikings mourned Jackson's death in an official statement as well. “Our thoughts are with Khyree's family, friends, teammates and coaches, as well as all the victims of this tragic accident," the statement read.

Several members of the Vikings staff also offered their condolences. “Khyree had an extremely bright future ahead of him as a player,” owners Mark and Zygi Wilf wrote, adding that “it was clear he was dedicated to being a tremendous person who made a positive difference in people's lives.”

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the Vikings’ general manager, said he is “heartbroken by the loss of Khyree.”

“As we got to know him throughout the pre-draft process, it was clear the goals Khyree wanted to accomplish both professionally and personally,” A -

dofo-Mensah continued. “His story was one of resilience. He was taking steps to become the best version of himself not just for him, but for those who cared about and looked up to him. Khyree's personality captured every room he was in. I'm devastated that his life and everything he had in front of him has been cut short.”

Head Coach Kevin O'Connell also shared a statement, writing, “I am absolutely crushed by this news. Khyree brought a contagious energy to our facility and our team. His confidence and engaging personality immediately drew his teammates to him.”

“In our short time together, it was evident Khyree was going to develop into a tremendous professional football player, but what was more impressive was his desire to become the best person he could be for his family and those around him,” O’Connell continued. “I am at a loss for words."

Jackson’s former head coach, the University of Oregon’s Dan Lanning, similarly shared a statement following his sudden death. “RIP Khyree… Love you,” the coach wrote on X. “At a loss for words. I will miss your smile. Great player better person.”

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Jackson, whom the Vikings selected in the fourth round of the 2024 draft in April, had one of the most heartwarming stories of the off-season. The Maryland native had previously given up football altogether — he didn’t have high enough grades to play D1 college ball — instead working at a local grocery store, Sports Illustrated reported.

“At one point I wasn’t really thinking about football much,” he said in a video shared by the Vikings. “I had just won employee of the month at the grocery store.”

After giving football another shot in 2019, the cornerback headed to Alabama, playing for the Crimson Tide for two seasons before transferring to Oregon, where he caught the Vikings’ attention.

Following his big moment in the draft, Jackson penned a heartfelt message on Instagram, stating that he was “sitting here 48 hrs away from me and my family’s life changing.”

“What can I say? I guess the saying ‘life is what you make it’ really means exactly what it reads,” he wrote at the time. “I got up off my ass and took what I deserved.”

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