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Wagner College football player dies after fiery car crash

Wagner College sophomore football linebacker Nashawn Brooks died following a car crash Tuesday night, reported on Wednesday.

Two others died at the scene of the fiery crash which occurred on Route 22 in Essex County around 11 p.m. According to a source, Brooks made it to the hospital alive, but died in the morning.

The New Jersey resident, who played his high school ball at Irvington HS, was used sparingly last season as a freshman for the Seahawks but was expected to see more time this season and beyond.

“We are all devastated right now," said first-year Wagner College grid coach Tom Masella. “He was a guy we were going to build our football team around.

Masella had only met Brooks through some off-season conference calls through Zoom, but liked what he saw in Brooks.

“In the couple of months I’ve known him, he was a kid who always worked hard, did the right thing and had a smile on his face,” said Masella. “He was a good person, who happened to be very athletic and he was probably going to be a captain of our team one day.”

In high school, Brooks was an All-Group 4 linebacker as a senior with over 100 tackles. He was also a district and Essex County champion and state qualifier in wrestling.

Brooks became the first Irvington wrestler to be named Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Essex County Tournament. He was Irvington’s 2018-2019 Athlete of the Year and made as much of an impact out of the athletic arena as he did in it

I think certain athletes, schools and athletic programs look back fondly on as the years go by,” said John Taylor, the Irvington High School athletic director, speaking to “I think decades from now people will still be talking about Nashawn. The best thing I could say about him is I have two small children, and I would have let Nashawn baby-sit them no questions asked.

“The last time I saw him was in December at a basketball tournament in Hillside and we ended up talking for 20 minutes. That’s who he was. He was home from college, could have been doing anything, and he went to Hillside to support our basketball team.”

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