Vikings rookie CB Khyree Jackson dies in car accident (2024)

Khyree Jackson, a recently drafted Minnesota Vikings cornerback, died early Saturday in a car crash at the age of 24. The team confirmed the news and the Maryland State Police confirmed the details of the crash, which occurred in Prince George’s County.

The police said the accident also claimed the lives of Isaiah Hazel and Anthony Lytton, two of Jackson’s high school teammates. Hazel was the driver of the vehicle, per the statement.

Investigators believe the car carrying Jackson was struck by another vehicle, which was attempting to change lanes while driving at a high rate of speed. They believe alcohol may have been a contributing circ*mstance in the crash.

We are devastated by the news of Khyree Jackson’s death following an overnight car accident.

Our thoughts are with Khyree’s family, friends, teammates and coaches, as well as all the victims of this tragic accident.

💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/pkgC4kQtWi

— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) July 6, 2024

Jackson was picked by the Vikings in the fourth round by way of Oregon. And hours before the Vikings drafted Khyree Jackson in April, he was bouncing his way around the mall. Returning clothes. Trying on other designer items. Chatting up the managers of stores, probably making them laugh.

Once the Vikings called and told him they were picking him in the fourth round, he FaceTimed his mother, Ebbony.

“Mom, are y’all watching?”

“We are,” she responded. “Did you get the call?”

“Are y’all watching?” He asked again, the tone of his wry smile coming across through the phone.

“Wait,” Ebbony asked, “are you still in the mall?”

He laughed. His picture popped up on his family’s television. Ebbony shrieked. As Khyree left the mall, heading home from Tysons Corner to Upper Marlboro, Md., to celebrate, his mother rehashed so many of the moments. Driving in the desert to drop Khyree off at Arizona Western. Meeting with longtime Alabama football coach Nick Saban on Zoom. She nestled into the couch and shook her head. Tears. They fell relentlessly.

RIP Khyree… Love you @Real_Khyree at a loss for words. I will miss your smile. Great player better person.

— Dan Lanning (@CoachDanLanning) July 6, 2024

“I was just so happy,” she recalled a few months ago. “So proud.”

Overwhelmed, because of the road Khyree had traveled. What he’d navigated. His talent, his belief, helped him overcome. The promise was undeniable. And it’s all of that, a story meant for a happy ending, that makes Saturday’s news so tragic.

“I am heartbroken by the loss of Khyree,” Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in a Saturday statement. “As we got to know him throughout the pre-draft process, it was clear the goals Khyree wanted to accomplish both professionally and personally. His story was one of resilience.”

Jackson attended five schools and three junior colleges. He once quit football, worked at Chipotle, envisioned a professional career playing NBA 2K and even sliced deli meats at Harris Teeter, where he was named the grocery store’s manager of the month. An impromptu phone call from a coach at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas reignited the football dream. There, he met former NFL cornerback Joey Thomas, who watched the 6-foot-4, 194-pound receiver swivel his hips once before saying: “He could be a star at cornerback.”

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Khyree agreed … because of course he did.

“Some kids, they look over and say, ‘I don’t want it,’” Khyree’s high school coach, DaLawn Parrish, said. “Not Khyree. He’s like, ‘Line ‘em up.’ He thinks he was a five-star recruit.”

After a stint at East Mississippi Community College, Alabama viewed him that way. Saban scheduled a Zoom videoconference with Khyree, Ebbony and Khyree’s father, Raymond. The Crimson Tide offered Khyree. He arrived on campus and held his own alongside highly-touted prospects Terrion Arnold and Kool-Aid McKinstry.

Khyree stayed for two seasons, then transferred to Oregon, where he became a favorite of head coach Dan Lanning.

“If you were designing a team in ‘Madden,’ this is what you’d want your corners to look like,” Lanning said.

A former Alabama staffer, Drew Svodoba, said: “If he can get it all going, I mean, this guy … I’m talking about, like, an unbelievable talent.”

The Vikings felt that way, leading defensive pass game coordinator Daronte Jones to meet with Khyree at the Senior Bowl. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores prioritized him in pre-draft sessions, and the Vikings ultimately selected him. Khyree shared his story in a post-draft interview session with local media members.

Ebbony shared a line she and Khyree often said to one another.

“Just another chapter of what?” Ebbony would ask.

“My story,” Khyree would respond. “My story.”

Khyree showed promise in spring practice, and just this week, Vikings coaches had sent him texts, sharing how much they believed he could provide this upcoming season.

“We were literally just texting,” one Vikings coach said Saturday. “I’m in tears.”

Required reading

  • Vikings NFL Draft pick Khyree Jackson ready to write next chapter of his wild story

(Photo: John E. Moore III / Getty Images)

Vikings rookie CB Khyree Jackson dies in car accident (1)Vikings rookie CB Khyree Jackson dies in car accident (2)

Alec Lewis is a staff writer covering the Minnesota Vikings for The Athletic. He grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and has written for Yahoo, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Kansas City Star, among many other places. Follow Alec on Twitter @alec_lewis

Vikings rookie CB Khyree Jackson dies in car accident (2024)
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