Iowa star Jack Campbell’s grandfather killed before Music City Bowl game
The grandfather of star Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Jack Campbell was killed a day before he was set to watch his grandson’s final college game.
William Smith Jr was hit by a hotel van Friday night in Nashville, according to The Tennessean – citing the Metro Nashville Police Department.
The 76-year-old man, from Waterloo, Iowa, was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Campbell’s parents chose to inform the eldest of his grandfather’s death until Iowa’s 21-0 victory at the Music City Bowl on Saturday so that Jack Campbell could “have one last time to play with his Iowa teammates”.
“Our hearts are with Jack and his entire family as they mourn the tragic death of their grandfather and father, William Smith Jr,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. “We know that Mr. Smith was a strong influence on his grandson and a loyal supporter of Hawkeye football.
“All of us – players, coaches and staff – will keep the Campbell family in our thoughts and prayers during this deeply difficult time.”
Smith is the father of Campbell’s stepmother, Jen.
Jack Campbell (31) watches from the bench during the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats at the Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium on December 31, 2022.USA TODAY Sports
Campbell, widely considered one of the top linebacker prospects in the NFL Draft, led the Hawkeyes with eight tackles in the win over Kentucky.
In December, Campbell became the first Hawkeye to receive the Dick Butkus Award, given annually to college football’s top linebacker. The All-American ranked second in the Big Ten Conference with 145 tackles in 12 games.