Mississippi State was given the weekend off to both celebrate its Thursday night win over Missouri and rest up for its upcoming game against Alabama.
Instead the Bulldogs are in mourning in the wake of true freshman defensive end Keith Joseph Jr.‘s death in an automobile accident Friday night.
MSU confirmed that Joseph Jr., along with his father Keith Joseph Sr., were killed in a one-vehicle accident on the way to watch Pascagoula High School, where both attended, play football.
Both father and son were members of the MSU football program. Joseph Sr. was a linebacker at MSU from 1989-92 and ranks 10th on the
school’s all-time sacks list with 14 while Joseph Jr. was redshirting this after signing in February as a three-star prospect.
“Words can’t express the sorrow we feel by having lost not one, but two members of the Bulldog family, father and son,” said MSU director of athletics Scott Stricklin. “I was a classmate of Keith Sr., and took pride in having Keith Jr. follow in his dad’s footsteps at MSU. They will both be missed greatly. It’s such a tragic reminder that life is a precious and every day is a gift from God.”
The loss of the Joseph’s comes five years after the death of MSU sophomore defensive end Nick Bell after a battle with brain cancer on Nov. 2, 2010.
“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the tragic loss of Keith Jr. and his father,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “Keith had such a promising future as a Bulldog following in the legacy started by Keith Sr., who played for our program 25 years ago. Keith was a great student, a hard worker and a great teammate to all of us. With heavy hearts, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Joseph family, our entire Mississippi State community and all of the lives these Bulldogs touched.”
Joseph Jr., was a 6-foot-3, 233-pounder and the first player mentioned by MSU defensive line coach David Turner when asked about true freshmen during the Bulldogs’ training camp.
“Keith Joseph has been a pleasant surprise,” Turner said in mid-August.
Joseph Jr. made 70 tackles, 14 for loss, seven sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and blocked a field goal during his senior season at Pascagoula. He played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic last year and earned scholarships from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Duke, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisville, Nebraska, South Alabama, Southern Miss and Tulane during the recruiting process.
Funeral arrangements are pending.