Max Tuerk, the former University of Southern California Trojans football center, has died at 26.
Tuerk’s death on June 21 was confirmed by his former teammate, Dion Bailey. Bailey tweeted, “Just got some terrible news. Damn man, RIP Max Tuerk! Gone too soon.” In a statement on Twitter, the USC Trojans official account said, “The #TrojanFamily is terribly saddened by the news of Tuerk’s passing, gone too soon at the age of 26, and our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with his family.”
Tuerk’s cause of death has not been made public. 247Sports reported that Tuerk “collapsed while hiking.”
Tuerk was a four-star recruit out of high school, according to his Rivals page. Tuerk was later drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2016 and spent some time with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017.
Tuerk Attended USC on a Full Scholarship Between 2012 and 2016
Tuerk attended USC between 2012 and 2016 on a full scholarship, according to his LinkedIn page.
Can’t even believe it. RIP my brother 😓
— Viane Talamaivao (@CoachV_USC) June 21, 2020
In his “About” section, Tuerk wrote, “Former professional athlete looking for a job.” Tuerk was first-team all-conference in the Pac-12 in 2014. Tuerk was a policy, planning and development major at USC. Tuerk was sidelined with a torn knee ligament injury for most of this senior year.
Tuerk Was Selected in the 3rd Round by the San Diego Chargers in the 2016 NFL Draft
Tuerk was selected in the 3rd round, 66th overall, by the San Diego Chargers in the 2016 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year contract with the Chargers in July 2016.
This offseason, I made the mistake of taking over-the-counter supplements.
In doing so, I opened myself up to the possibility of consuming a tainted supplement — something that ultimately led to a positive test for a banned substance. I accept responsibility for my actions and understand the NFL’s policy is very clear on this matter.
This is a very hard way to learn a lesson, and I will never make this mistake again.
Tuerk was waived by the Chargers in October 2017, reported The OC Register at the time.
Tuerk Was a Decorated High School Player at Santa Margarita Catholic High School
Tuerk was a native of Trabuco Canyon, California, 55 miles south of Los Angeles. He attended Santa Margarita Catholic High School. According to Tuerk’s official USC profile, his high school career was hugely decorated. In 2011, his honors included being on the ESPNHS.com All-American first team and the Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team. Tuerk was also named the Los Angeles Times All-Area Lineman of the Year and the All-Trinity League Co-Lineman of the Year. The profile referred to Tuerk as the team’s “most versatile offensive lineman.” Tuerk is listed on his profile as having stood at 6-foot-6 and weighing over 280 pounds.
In August 2015, The Orange County Register’s Rich Hammond wrote that Tuerk was USC’s “one-man symphony.” In the same article, Tuerk’s high school coach Harry Welch said that the lineman was “like a hungry grizzly bear. Yet his technique is also beautifully refined.”