Crash Claims Lives Of Texas A&M + Utah Football Players; 13 Year Old Also Killed

Gaius Vaenuku + Polo ManukainiuTwo college football players were killed in a single-car accident on Monday night driving in New Mexico.

Gaius Vaenuku, a freshman for the Utah Utes at defensive lineman, and Polo Manukainiu, a redshirt freshman at defensive tackle for Texas A&M were riding in a car together when an over correction was made which sent the vehicle flipping in the air. Both players died at the scene according to police.

In addition, a young teenager in the car with the two players was also killed. Andrew Uhatafe was just 13 years old.

As reported by ESPN, alcohol is not a factor to the accident upon the initial reports that were released following the accident.

As one can imagine, both programs and communities are grieving for the loss.

“We lost a terrific young man,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said in a statement. “Polo was loved by his teammates and coaches. Anyone who came in contact with him was struck by his sense of humor and smile. My heart aches for his mom and family members.”

“Everyone who knew Gaius is heartbroken today,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He was the kind of young man who lit up a room and his future in football and life had no boundaries. Words cannot express our devastation over the loss of Gaius…”

Manukainiu did not play as a redshirt for Texas A&M last season during the team’s 11-2 run and first season in the Southeastern Conference. With a year under his belt in the defensive system, he was expected to play a role for the Aggies this season.

Vaenuku was an incoming freshman to Utah, where he was ranked as the No.33 defensive tackle in the nation. Among the other schools that recruited him were TCU, Arizona, Arizona State, and Baylor. Vaenuku was also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was going to embark on a mission following his first season at Utah.

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