Albany Football Star AJ Simon Jr. Dies Week Before NFL Draft

Amitral “AJ” Simon Jr., a standout player for the University at Albany football program during its journey to the FCS semifinals, died Wednesday at the age of 25. The program announced Simon’s death in a social media post. It did not disclose the cause.

“The UAlbany football program was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student-athlete Amitral ‘AJ’ Simon this morning,” the post reads. “AJ was a tremendous young man and even better teammate throughout his time at UAlbany. He was a role model both on and off the field, serving as a pillar to this program over the last two years. He will be profoundly missed.”

Simon played two seasons at UAlbany after starting his college career at Division II Bloomsburg University. With UAlbany, the 6-foot-1, 260-pound defensive lineman recorded 17.5 sacks, with 12.5 of them coming during the 2023 season that saw the Great Danes finish 11-4.

Throughout Wednesday afternoon, members of the UAlbany football program posted memories on social media regarding Simon.

“Two joyous year(s) coaching and becoming friends with AJ Simon,” UAlbany football coach Greg Gattuso posted Wednesday on social media. “My prayers are dedicated to the Simon family. I love you AJ and will always have a special place in my heart for #8.”

Simon’s UAlbany biography page lists him as the son of Amitral Simon Sr. and Felma Simon. He had two sisters, Dominque and Doranella.

“Words can’t express who he was, what he meant to so many and how big his smile was,” posted Jared Ambrose, UAlbany’s associate head coach. “He brought light to everyone who came across him. Gone too soon but he’s part of us forever.”