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Texas LB Jake Ehlinger Died of 'Accidental Overdose,' Family Says in Statement

April 24, 2021; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns linebacker Jake Ehlinger walks off the field after the Orange-White Texas Spring Game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Jake Ehlinger's family released a statement Thursday concerning their son's death, saying it was an "accidental overdose." 

“Today we are sad to share that we have learned that Jake was a victim of an accidental overdose of what was believed to be Xanax laced with toxic drugs including deadly Fentanyl,” the statement said, in part. “The spread of counterfeit pills is an ongoing and significant issue throughout our country, particularly in schools, colleges, and universities."

Ehlinger was the younger brother of former Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who was selected by the Colts in the sixth round of the NFL draft. Jake walked on at Texas in 2019, and practiced alongside his brother. However, he did not receive any playing time during his two seasons with the Longhorns, and chose to redshirt the 2020 season.

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The former Texas linebacker was found dead off campus on May 6, and was 20-years-old. Police say they received a call about an incident at 12:18 p.m. The younger Ehlinger was found shortly after on the 1200 block of West 22nd Street. 

“As our family continues to process Jake’s death, we felt it was important to share these details with the hope that Jake will not have died in vain,” the statement continued. “We pray that sharing Jake’s story will help shed light on this problem and prevent other families from also tragically losing a loved one.”

Jake's death was the second death in the last decade of an immediate family member the Ehlingers have faced. Jake and Sam's father, Ross, died unexpectedly during the 2013 “Escape from Alcatraz” triathlon in San Francisco. Race officials said the Austin attorney suffered a heart attack shortly after the start.

“Our hearts are broken, and we are still grieving over the loss of our son and brother, Jake,” the family statement read. “We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support received since his untimely passing in May. We sincerely thank everyone who has reached out.”