Logan native and former Washington State quarterback Luke Falk is withdrawing from the Senior Bowl to attend the funeral services of former teammate Tyler Hilinski, Seattle Times sports writer Stefanie Loh reported Friday.
Hilinski's funeral is Saturday afternoon in La Verne, California, according to his brother. The Senior Bowl will be played Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. MST in Mobile, Alabama.
Hilinski died Jan. 16 in Pullman, Washington, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the coroner in Whitman County (Washington). Hilinski appeared in eight games as a sophomore last year, including starting the Holiday Bowl in place of an injured Falk.
"The hurt's never going to stop hurting. He's always going to be here with us," Falk said in an interview with NFL Network. "What a great human being. What a great soul and what a great family he's got."
The former Logan High quarterback also stressed the importance of opening up about mental health and mental illness.
"I really hope a positive comes from this and people start talking about it because it's the second-leading killer in men from 18 to 45 years old," he told NFL Network. "We need to be able to have the ability and resources and not feel guilty about talking about how we feel on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully we can honor his life."
Falk wore the No. 3 — Hilinski's number at Washington State — during the Senior Bowl week in honor of his former teammate.
Falk is a top NFL prospect at the quarterback position following a four-year career at Washington State where he threw for 14,486 passing yards and 119 touchdowns. He is rated the No. 9 quarterback in this year's class by ESPN's Mel Kiper.
He made a positive impression on several people during the week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
“The anticipation and timing stand out,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Falk, according to the Seattle Times. “I think (Falk’s) interviews are going great with teams. They’re shocked at all the control and power he had at the line of scrimmage.”