Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski found dead in apartment

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The 21-year-old Hilinski was discovered in his apartment after he didn't show up for practice Tuesday. A rifle "was recovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found," according to the Pullman Police Department.

"We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler's passing," Washington State coach Mike Leach said in a statement. "He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Hilinski was the presumptive starting quarterback going into next season. He started Washington State's Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State after Luke Falk was unable to play due to a wrist injury. Hilinski appeared in eight games during his sophomore season, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns. His most memorable outing came in the second week of the season when he led Washington State from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boise State 47-44 in triple overtime. Hilinski threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns coming off the bench, and was carried off the field after the victory.

His only start came in the bowl game against Michigan State, although he played extensively in a loss to Arizona.

Former Washington State linebackers coach Roy Manning, who recently left for a position at UCLA, tweeted , "Words can't describe what I'm feeling right now. My heart is beyond saddened. Please pray for the family and all of us affected!"

Washington State's players took to social media in reaction to Hilinski's death.

"Ty you were a great teammate, friend, brother anything we needed you to be. You brought smiles to the people around you. I am sorry I could not be there for you when you needed a smile for yourself. Love you man," defensive back Skyler Thomas wrote on Twitter .

Fellow quarterback John Bledsoe also wrote on Twitter , "God, let Tyler find peace. Everyone please pray for the Hilinski family tonight. Heaven received a very special person."

Hilinski is from Claremont, California, and went to high school at nearby Upland. He arrived on campus in 2015 and redshirted before appearing in four games in 2016.

If you, or someone you know is in crisis, please tell someone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, 24-hour assistance to anyone who needs help. The hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).