CORVALLIS, Ore. (CBS/AP) – An Oregon State defensive tackle who was four days shy of his 20th birthday has died after collapsing while playing basketball at a campus recreation center.

Richmond native Fred Thompson was taken Wednesday night to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis, where he was pronounced dead.

The Benton County Medical Examiner’s office did not immediately return phone calls Thursday seeking a cause of death, but several media outlets reported that Thompson apparently suffered a heart attack.

Thompson, 6-foot-4 and 317 pounds, was a freshman who played at Oakland Tech High School. He had no history of heart issues.

He was part of the 2010 recruiting class but delayed his enrollment until this January. He spent this season recovering from shoulder surgery and was considered a grayshirt.

Coach Mike Riley was on a recruiting trip but was expected back at Oregon State on Thursday. The school scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon.

Some players gathered Wednesday night at Valley Football Center after word spread of Thompson’s death, and the front page of the Beavers’ website paid tribute to the young player.

Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer posted on Twitter: “R.I.P Fred Im really gonna miss you bro. My prayers go to you and your family.”

His team biography said Thompson chose Oregon State because of the “family vibe, nice campus and great academics.” It says he was contemplating majoring in business.

A memorial fund for Thompson’s family has been established at Citizen’s Bank in Corvallis.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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