The rough sports he loved may have helped to do Kosta Karageorge in at age 22.
He gained attention as a 6 feet 5 inches, 285 pound Ohio State football defensive tackle, but he was also a wrestler.
Police believe he shot himself but are still investigating.
Near his body, which was found in a dumpster, was a handgun.
But Karageorge suffered from concussions, his mother said, and they weighed heavily on him in the last text message he sent her from his cellphone.
“I am sorry if I am an embarrassment but these concussions have my head all f***ed up,” he wrote early Wednesday. He was last seen alive minutes later, according to a tweet from his personal account.
Karageorge had gone for a walk that night, upset about something, Cleveland.com reported.
When he didn’t show for football practice Wednesday morning, he was reported missing.
Police, some on horseback, scoured the area around campus for Karageorge.
Students joined in, posting fliers with his photo under windshield wipers and on telephone posts.
Then on Sunday afternoon, a woman and her son scavenging containers came upon his body, Columbus police Sgt. Richard Weiner said.
The school’s athletics department expressed shock and sadness over his death.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Karageorge family, and those who knew him, during this most difficult time,” it said in a statement.