DULUTH — A senior defensive lineman who played a single season with the Division II Minnesota Duluth football team has died, the university announced Wednesday morning.

Reed Ryan, 22, died Tuesday at Essentia Health in Duluth, according to a news release from the athletic department. The native of Waunakee, Wis. spent four seasons at North Dakota State University, where he played in the FCS National Championship Game in 2019 and 2021. He spent the 2023 season with the Bulldogs.

UMD coach Curt Wiese described his former player as having a positive attitude, infectious smile and genuine care for the people around him.

"Reed aspired to be better every day at whatever task was at hand," Weise said in a statement. "We were fortunate to have Reed on our team, and he made our program, our department, and our community a better place in a short period of time."

The university did not list a cause of death. Bison coach Matt Entz said Ryan died of cardiac arrest.

"Our team had a bunch of heavy hearts yesterday," Entz said at a news conference, and then spoke of the player's family. "Bison nation is thinking of them."

Ryan recorded seven tackles and assisted another for a total loss of 10 yards in nine games with the Bulldogs. He had a college career-best three tackles at Minot State on Oct. 21. He and his defensive unit allowed an average of 293.9 yards per game — lowest in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

UMD Athletic Director Forrest Karr was from the same hometown as Ryan and said the athlete was beloved by those who knew him.

"Reed was a kind, caring and thoughtful young man who enjoyed bringing people together," he said.