Bobby Roundtree was one of the most inspirational collegiate athletes in Illinois history. The former defensive end in the Lovie Smith era for the Fighting Illini has passed away at the age of 23.
Back in 2019, while swimming in his hometown of Largo, Florida, the defensive end suffered a severe spinal injury that cut his collegiate career short.
Roundtree has been rehabbing in Tampa, Florida and seem to be a huge motivation for the Illinois football team.
Unfortunately, Illinois released this statement on the passing of Bobby.
“All of us with Illinois Athletics are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Bobby Roundtree,” Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “From his first day on campus, Bobby was a leader. His work ethic, competitive fire, and drive for excellence set him apart. Following his tragic accident, those same qualities allowed him to tackle his new challenges with the same vigor and determination that we had seen on the football field. In so doing, he continued to bring light and inspiration to the lives of those around him — and, in fact, to so many people who had never had the pleasure of meeting him.
“In the face of incredible adversity, he demonstrated he was, and always will remain, a true champion. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We will support them, and our players, coaches, and staff who knew him well, as we struggle to understand this terrible news and, ultimately, look to celebrate the remarkable young leader we have lost.”
This is such a sad story. Bobby was a great player for Illinois his freshman and sophomore seasons and even earned honorable mention for All-Big Ten honors in 2018.
Please pray for the Roundtree family during this tough time.