Minnesota Vikings cornerback Kyrie Jackson dies in car crash in Maryland

Three former high school state champion football players from Prince George’s County — including one drafted into the NFL — were killed early Saturday morning when a speeding and alcohol-impaired driver struck their car in Upper Marlboro, Maryland State Police said.

Those killed were Minnesota Vikings rookie Kyrie Jackson, 24, and former teammates Anthony Litton Jr., 24, and Isaiah Hazell, 23. They attended Wise High School in Upper Marlboro before playing Division 1-A college football. Jackson finished his college career at the University of Oregon and was drafted by Minnesota in April in the fourth round.

All three played for coach DaLawn Parrish and won multiple state championships, Parrish built a dynasty at Wise, winning 43 straight games and three state titles from 2015 to 2018. When Parrish stepped down in January after winning six titles, Jackson, Lytton and Hazel were all treated to a surprise party. The departing coach, Parrish said Saturday.

“Great young guys,” Parrish said. “Hard worker, very caring. All three of them will always be a part of my life. As they told me I helped them grow, these young men helped me grow as a coach and as a person. I’ll always miss them, always love them, and at least I’m glad they were together in the end.

“I am absolutely devastated by this news,” Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Kyrie brought an infectious energy to our facility and our team. … My heart goes out to Kyrie’s family, friends, teammates and coaches.

The crash happened around 3:15 a.m. on northbound Route 4 near President Parkway. Police said the three were riding in a Dodge Charger driven by Hazel when the Infiniti Q50, which was changing lanes while driving at high speed, collided with the Charger and another car.

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The Charger 4 left the roadway and struck several trees before coming to rest, police said. Police declined to say whether the three were wearing seat belts. The driver of the Infiniti, identified by police as an Upper Marlboro woman, and his two passengers were not injured. The driver of the other car was not injured.

Jackson and Hazel died at the scene. Lytton was taken to a hospital, where he died.

State police said investigators believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. No chargesheet was filed on Saturday.

Litton played collegiately at Florida State University and Penn State, and Hazel played at the University of Maryland and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Jackson played at two small colleges before taking a year off from football to take a more active journey through college.

A Video on X, Jackson Harris talked about how he worked in the deli department of a Dieter grocery store, where he was “employee of the month” and “I didn’t think much about football.” Jackson said he tried to turn pro playing the NBA 2K video game series and “it was a little foggy for a little second football, I’d say for sure.”

Jackson was asked why he returned to football, and he did said, “Two of my closest friends are four and five stars [recruits]Jackson said, “They were both D-1. They inspired me.”

Jackson returned to football and eventually enrolled at Alabama, where he played cornerback for two seasons and started in the national championship game. He transferred to Oregon for his senior year and became the 108th player selected in the draft.

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A April’s Instagram postTwo days before the NFL draft, Jackson wrote, “Seeing Joey and AJ [Hazel and Lytton] go D1 is my ultimate inspiration, they inspire me to be better, can’t thank them enough.

At Wise, all three players were two-way stars, providing highlights on both offense and defense. They helped contribute to a 43-game hitting streak for the Prince George’s County program that spanned multiple seasons and included three straight state titles.

Litton was named the All-Met Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. He began his college career at Florida State and played two seasons there before transferring to Penn State. His family could not immediately be reached.

Hazell, another standout at wide receiver and cornerback, went to U-Md. He flipped his commitment from West Virginia University, giving the hometown Terps more momentum with local recruits. He played four seasons before transferring to UNC-Charlotte for his final year of eligibility, where he started eight games and was sixth on the team in tackles.

“He was a good young man and he’s going to heaven,” said Hazel’s grandmother, Edith S. Hazel said. He said Hazel graduated with honors from U-Md. in 2022, but was determined to play pro football after going undrafted. He is the youngest of three children and his older brother is a police officer in Prince George’s, his grandmother said.

Jackson began his high school career at Springbrook High in Silver Spring. A broken collarbone cost Jackson his junior season with the Pumas and shattered his recruiting hopes.

“I can’t talk about the situation,” Jackson told The Washington Post in 2016.

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He put together a strong senior season at wide receiver, totaling 39 catches for 612 yards and 12 touchdowns and playing defensive back.

Despite those numbers, Jackson had little college interest. He took a year off from football before enrolling at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas. He climbed the college ranks from there, transferring to the University of Alabama and then the University of Oregon. In Eugene, he established himself as a defensive star and a solid NFL draft prospect.

Dan Lanning, Jackson’s college coach in Oregon, wrote on X, “RIP Khyree… Love you, at a loss for words. I miss your smile. A great player is a great man. “

Vikings coach O’Connell wrote in X, “It’s clear that Kyrie is going to develop into one of our top professional football players, but what’s most impressive is his desire to become the best person he can be. His family and those around him. I’m at a loss for words.”

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