ELYRIA, Ohio — Former Ohio State linebacker De'van Bogard has died following a house fire in Elyria early Tuesday morning.
Elyria City School District, where Bogard worked as an assistant high school football coach, confirmed his death to WKYC. Communications Director Amy Higgins added that Pioneers head coach Devlin Culliver and the rest of the staff notified the team earlier today and that grief counselors will be available to students throughout the week.
"Our student-athletes and coaching staff are grieving his loss," Higgins wrote. "The team is very connected. De'van was a valued member of the coaching staff. He held a pivotal role on the team and in the development of the players as students and athletes."
Interim Elyria Fire Chief Joe Pronesti says the fire broke out inside Bogard's apartment at the Colonnade Elyria. While the flames were contained only to Bogard's home he was apparently unable to get out and was found dead by the door.
A star-wide receiver and safety as a teenager, Bogard was a member of the Glenville High School's 2009 Division I state runner-up team as a sophomore before eventually becoming one of the top recruits in the country.
His skills eventually landed him a scholarship offer from Ohio State, where he quickly earned the praises of new head coach Urban Meyer.
Unfortunately, Bogard's college career would not go as planned, as three torn ACLs ruined his chances of making a major impact. He still totaled 13 tackles over three seasons as a linebacker and was part of the Buckeyes' 2014 national championship squad.
After graduating from Ohio State, Bogard joined Elyria in 2019 as linebackers under Culliver. The program had been down for several years but has begun to improve, boasting a solid 4-4 record following last Friday night's game.
Playoff-bound Elyria is scheduled to host Amherst Steele this week on senior night, but in the wake of Bogard's passing the status of the game is now in question. Higgins said a decision will be made within the next day or so.
In regards to the fire that took Bogard's life, Pronesti said his department has not yet determined what caused the blaze, but foul play is not suspected. He added there were working smoke alarms in the hallway, but not in the apartment.
A man in a neighboring apartment was also injured when he broke the glass to get to the hallway's fire extinguisher. He was treated at the scene and released.
Several of Bogard's former Ohio State teammates later took to Twitter to mourn their friend.