Oregon tight end Spencer Webb in October 2021. Oct 2, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Oregon Ducks tight end Spencer Webb (18) before the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The college football world has suffered a big loss. Oregon Ducks’ tight end Spencer Webb has passed away at 22. As per Joe Davidson of The Sacramento Bee (Webb was from Sacramento, and starred at Christian Brothers High School there), Webb died Wednesday afternoon after hitting his head during an outdoor recreation accident just west of Triangle Lake in Lane County, less than a mile from Eugene. The exact circumstances of Webb’s death aren’t clear, but Davidson cites this Lane County Sheriff’s Office report:

Davidson writes that Webb (seen above ahead of a game against Stanford last fall) came from a tough family situation, and was raised by his aunt, uncle, grandparents, and eventually by his older brother Cody, who (along with wife Alicia) became Webb’s legal guardian in high school. And Webb went from there to Oregon; he only posted 13 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown last year, but showed big-play ability, and was a projected starter this fall. And he was hugely popular with fans, who held “Webb for President” signs and helped him crowd-surf after one win last fall. Oregon head coach Dan Lanning, current receiver Isaah Crocker, and former player Arik Armstead all posted notable social media tributes to Webb:


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Those who knew Webb in Sacramento also had great things to say about him to Davidson:

“It’s a big loss for everybody, just truly unbelievable,” said Terrance Leonard, a longtime area coach and friend of Webb and his family. “Spence was like a son to me. He played with great energy. He was such a nice kid. He had a great personality.”

Christian Brothers football coach Larry Morla started coaching at his alma mater when Webb was a senior, in the fall of 2016. Morla saw first hand how committed Webb was to football, to being a good student and a good leader, and to making his family proud.

“He had his whole life to live,” Morla said, adding that Webb stopped by Christian Brothers last month to talk to student-athletes and to offer encouragement on the rewards of football. “He always came back to CB when he was in town. He was a once-in-a-generation talent.”

Webb told The Bee in a 2016 profile that he used football to build back up his shattered confidence. He bounced from home to home growing up and longed for mentorship and stability. Once he found it, Webb responded by competing with all-out gusto at Christian Brothers. He won wind sprints in practice, hit the weights and then hit the books well into the night. In games, he ran over defenders if he didn’t race past them as a national 4-star recruit.

“I grew up faster than a lot of kids,” Webb told The Bee. “I never really had a mom or dad in my life. They chose to do other things, so it’s been me and my brother (Cody Webb). I had a dream, he had a dream, and we’re making that dream happen.”

It’s awful to hear that this happened to Webb. And his passing touched many throughout the college football world. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

[The Sacramento Bee]; photo from Stan Szeto/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.