A 20-year-old UCLA football player was hit and killed by a car in South Orange County early Sunday, officials said.
Nicholas Pasquale, a former football Triton at San Clemente High School, died about 1:30 a.m. as he was walking at Camino De Los Mares near Calle Nuevo in San Clemente, the Orange County Coroner’s Office said in a press release.
Pasquale was a walk-on freshman on the UCLA football squad as a wide receiver who came from a line of family members involved in athletics. His brother also played for the San Clemente team and his father is the director of football operations there.
“Nick was the epitome of what a Triton was all about,” his former coach Jaime Ortiz told the San Clemente Times. “Talk about a family that is the prime example of being a Triton, that’s the family you point to.”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department was investigating the cause of the crash. The driver involved remained at the scene and called police, officials said. The driver was released. Neither alcohol nor drugs were suspected, officials with the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.
UCLA head football coach Jim Mora said he and the team were saddened by the loss.
"This is a tragic loss," Mora said in a statement. "Nick was an outstanding young man who had a positive impact on everyone who knew him. He was a great teammate who was loved and respected by his entire team. Our thoughts are with the Pasquale family."
Pasquale was a redshirt freshman wide receiver and "a valued member of the Bruin scout team."
He played in UCLA’s season-opening win against Nevada. He was an All-County defensive back/wide receiver for the Tritons in 2011.
UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said "the UCLA family lost a wonderful young man who represented the university, his team and his family well.
"Our hearts go out to the Pasquale family," he said. "We will do everything we can to assist and support them, as well as his teammates, as they go through this unthinkable tragedy."
Former Teammates and others paid tribute to Pasquale on Twitter.
"Man... My thoughts and prayers go out to my teammate Nick Pasquale and his family!!!" wrote Kylie Fitts. A great man that is with our Lord right now! #RIP36."
Datone Jones, an NFL player with the Green Bay Packers and UCLA alumnus, wrote, "RIP to my UCLA brother Nick Pasquale... You will be missed. Love you, bro. #bruin4life."
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