GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. It's been a heartbreaking couple of days for the Colorado Mesa community as they mourn the loss of one of their own. Freshman football player, Austin Worbington, passed away Wednesday night in a tragic swimming accident.
“Scrolling down my Facebook feed and it's just Austin, Austin, Austin, and everybody just misses him so much,” said Jacob Dinkel, Austin’s best friend.
His friends said his death was all too sudden.
“When I’m walking around the campus it seems dull without him," said Dinkel. "He brightened up the place, no matter where he was,”
At 5'7” and 165 lbs, Austin wasn't Colorado Mesa's tallest or biggest wide receiver, but his teammates said that never really bothered him. He turned his size into his calling card.
“Height doesn't measure heart -- He lived by that. That was his motto,” said Zeb Foster.
As a redshirt freshman, his time on the field was mostly in practice, and he made sure every minute counted.
“He always said he was the smallest wide receiver in the RMAC, so that stood out right off the bat," said Ty Leonard. "He was just a little crazy ball of energy,”
After an impressive spring season, his coach had envisioned an exciting fall ahead, one that none of his friends, family, or teammates will ever get to see.
“You know it's going to be tough, especially when we honor him,” said Martin.
Colorado Mesa football players said they'll do that every time they lace up their shoes and slip on their helmets.
“You can respond to this in two ways and we're trying to do it the right way -- come together and make it something where we can use him like a great force behind us."
This year, the Mavs will be playing for much more than trophies and titles.