Dwane Simmons, a junior defensive back for the Washington football team, was shot and killed early Sunday morning in Topeka, Kansas. Also injured in the shooting was roommate and teammate Corey Ballentine, who had been selected by the New York Giants in the NFL Draft hours earlier.
Washburn University confirmed the tragic news in a statement.
“Any time we lose a student it is a sad occasion, but it is particularly poignant to lose a student through such a senseless act,” Washburn president Jerry Farley said in a statement. “Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general. This was a terrible way to end a day which should have been a day of celebration and a day to look forward to Dwane’s upcoming year at Washburn and the beginning of Corey’s professional career.
“While we extend our deepest sympathies to Dwane’s family, we also want to make sure that the campus community knows that we have counseling resources available. We will have counselors on campus today and the counseling help line — 785-670-3100 — is available 24 hours a day.”
Simmons was just 23 years old and had played in 22 games during his three seasons at the Division II school. Simmons registered 17 starts, 59 tackles, three interceptions, and one touchdown.
“Heartbreaking news about Dwane Simmons,” Washburn coach Craig Schurig said in a statement. “Dwane is one of the most energetic and well-liked players I have ever coached at Washburn. Dwane’s infectious smile and love for football and his teammates was truly inspirational. Our prayers of healing go out to his family, his parents Navarro and Yasmine Simmons and Chaquilla Williams.”
Hours before Simmons’ death, he appeared in a Facebook video and was all smiles with his father to congratulate Ballentine on being drafted.
Ballentine, who was the 2018 Cliff Harris Award winner for being the top small school defensive player of the year, is expected to make a full recovery. Ballentine had participated in the Senior Bowl and registered a 4.47 second time in the 40-yard dash before being selected in the sixth round.
Our deepest condolences go out to Simmons’ family and friends during this incredibly difficult and tragic time.