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Niles West grad Shawn Afryl passes away

07/23/2014, 1:00am CDT
By The Associated Press
Niles West lineman Shawn Afryl

In this Aug. 13, 2008, photo, Niles West lineman Shawn Afryl (middle) goes through a drill on the first day of high school football practice. | File

WINONA, Minn. — Niles West graduate Shawn Afryl died Monday during a workout with football teammates at Winona (Minnesota) State University’s Maxwell Field, the school said in a news release. 

The 22-year-old had recently transferred to Winona State from Illinois.

Information about his cause of death was not immediately available.

Winona State associate head coach Cameron Keller told the Minneapolis (Star Tribune) that Afryl collapsed not long after the beginning of the voluntary workout and the program’s strength and conditioning coaches administered CPR until paramedics arrived at the field. 

Coaches weren’t present, per NCAA rules, Keller told the paper.

School officials said the 6-foot-3, 310-pound offensive lineman had recently enrolled after his transfer.

Afryl committed to Illinois under former head coach Ron Zook and redshirted in 2010. He played in one game for the Illini in 2012 before transferring to Winona State.

Illini coach Tim Beckman said in a statement that his players were saddened to hear of the death of a “great teammate.”

Winona State coach Tom Sawyer said Afryl had shown maturity and leadership in his short time at the Division II school.

Afryl wanted to become a teacher and high school coach, his mom Sue wrote on a GoFundMe.com page.

She had raised over $30,000 for his burial on the site as of Wednesday morning.

Several people associated with the Illini have shared condolences on social media. 

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