Ryan Hilinski is an uber-talented prep quarterback from Southern California. He has a unique set of skills that makes him one of the most desirable teenage college applicants in the country. He lives in the land of perennial beautiful weather. And he has the athletic build of a male model.
Yet behind the glistening veneer, Hilinski has had to deal with his own family tragedy that has overshadowed so much of the light in his life. Hilinski’s older brother, now-former Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, committed suicide in January, just weeks after he started for the Cougars in the 2017 Holiday Bowl.
There are still scores of questions about the elder Hilinski’s final act, from his motivation to why he chose what he did. Those riddles remain unsolved, but the Hilinski family finally got some closure when they released his ashes into the Pacific.
In fact, the final act of Tyler Hilinski’s decision apparently may have swayed his brother’s choice of a college destination. Ryan Hilinski announced his commitment Wednesday, choosing South Carolina ahead of scholarship offers from 20 of the nation’s biggest, most prestigious programs.
Hilinski, an Elite 11 selection, chose to acknowledge his brother’s death, making note on it in the Tweet he used to announce his commitment:
Why Tyler Hilinski wanted his brother Ryan to attend a Southern school remains to be seen. For now, Ryan Hilinski is ready to excel in his final year of high school football, with an eye on future once his last season wraps up.