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AJ Simon, Albany defensive standout and NFL Draft prospect, dies at 25

Former University at Albany defensive lineman and 2024 NFL Draft prospect Amitral “AJ” Simon has died at the age of 25, the school announced Wednesday.

A cause of death was not announced.

“The UAlbany football program was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral ‘AJ’ Simon this morning,” Albany said in a statement. “AJ was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany. He was a role model both on and off the field, serving as a pillar to this program over the last two years. He will be profoundly missed.”

“Two joyous year[s] coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon,” Albany head coach Greg Gattuso posted on X. “My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart.”

Simon played two seasons at Albany and declared for the 2024 NFL Draft in December. He was ranked as the 448th prospect by ESPN after a season that saw him earn first-team All-CAA honors. In 15 games, he recorded 55 tackles and 12.5 sacks while helping the Great Danes to an 11-4 record and their first conference title.

According to NBC, Simon had a pre-draft visit with the New England Patriots last week.

Off the field, Simon made the CAA’s commissioner’s academic honor roll, which requires students to keep at least a 3.0 grade-point average.