NFL rookie Khyree Jackson, two former teammates killed in Maryland crash (2024)

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

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

The three men played for coach DaLawn Parrish and won multiple state championships as 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 all showed up at a surprise party for the departing coach, Parrish said Saturday.

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“Outstanding young men,” Parrish said. “Hard-working, 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 a man. I’ll always miss them, always love them, at the very least I’m glad they were together at the end.”

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

The crash happened around 3:15 a.m. on northbound Route 4 near Presidential Parkway. The three men were riding in a Dodge Charger being driven by Hazel when the Charger and another car were struck by an Infiniti Q50 that was changing lanes while driving at high speed, police said.

The Charger left Route 4 and struck multiple tree stumps before coming to rest, police said. Police declined to say if the three were wearing seat belts. The driver of the Infiniti, identified by police as an Upper Marlboro woman, and her two passengers were not injured. The driver of the other car also was not hurt.

Jackson and Hazel were pronounced dead at the scene. Lytton was taken to a hospital where he later died.

State police said investigators think that alcohol may have been a contributing circ*mstance in the crash. No charges were filed Saturday.

Lytton played collegiately at Florida State University and Penn State, and Hazel played at the University of Maryland and University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Jackson had a more winding journey through college, playing at two small colleges and taking a year off from football.

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In a video on X, Jackson talked about how he was working in the deli department of a Harris Teeter grocery store, saying he had won “Employee of the Month” and “I really wasn’t thinking about football much.” Jackson said he tried to turn pro playing the NBA 2K video game series, and “for a bit of a second football had got a little foggy, I would definitely say.”

Jackson was asked why he returned to football, and he said, “Two of my close friends, they were four- and five-stars [recruits],” Jackson said, “they both were D-1. They motivated 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 wound up being the 108th player selected in the draft.

In an Instagram post in April, just two days before the NFL draft, Jackson wrote, “Watching Zayy and AJ [Hazel and Lytton] go D1 was my ultimate inspiration, they inspired me to be better can’t thank them enough.”

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

Lytton was named All-Met Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 after spending his senior season as the backfield anchor of a dominant defense. 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 for comment.

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Hazel, another standout at wide receiver and cornerback, went to U-Md. He had flipped his commitment from West Virginia University, giving the hometown Terps more momentum with local recruits. He played four seasons there 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. She said Hazel graduated with honors from U-Md. in 2022, but was determined to play pro football even after going undrafted. He was the youngest of three children and his older brother is a police officer in Prince George’s, his grandmother said.

Jackson started his high school career at Springbrook High in Silver Spring before transferring to Wise in the middle of his sophom*ore year. A broken collarbone cost Jackson his junior season with the Pumas and derailed his recruiting hopes.

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“I couldn’t dwell on the situation,” Jackson told The Washington Post in 2016. “I just had to come back better.”

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

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

Jackson’s college coach at Oregon, Dan Lanning, wrote on X, “RIP Khyree… Love you, at a loss for words. I will miss your smile. Great player better person.”

“In our short time together,” Vikings coach O’Connell wrote on X, “it was evident Khyree was going to develop into a tremendous professional football player, but what was more impressive was his desire to become the best person he could be for his family and those around him. I am at a loss for words.”

NFL rookie Khyree Jackson, two former teammates killed in Maryland crash (2024)
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