Somber news today from The University of New Mexico who announced that safety Markel Byrd was killed in a single-vehicle accident on Tuesday, just days after New Mexico played in the New Mexico Bowl. Byrd was just 20 years old.

The sophomore safety was driving home for the holidays with his girlfriend (no name given) when his car is said to have sustained a blowout on I-40, according to officials. The two were ejected from the car and authorities say Byrd died instantly. His girlfriend is being treated and is in critical condition, according a statement from New Mexico’s athletics department. It is unknown if either was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

“This is an absolute tragedy. Markel Byrd was an outstanding person and student-athlete and we will miss him,” said New Mexico head coach Bob Davie.  “I was with the family late Tuesday night and obviously they are devastated.  Our thoughts and prayers go to them.  Markel will forever be a member of our family.”

Byrd, a San Diego native, redshirted his 2013 season before stepping on the field in 2014. He recorded 91 tackles for the Lobos and picked off four passes. This past season he led the team with three interceptions.

[Go Lobos]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.