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Cats Mourn Loss of Teammate

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The Montana State football program defines itself as a family.

Right now, that family is in mourning, grieving the loss of a brother in former safety Eryon Barnett.

"When you first meet Eryon, the first thing he greets you with is his big smile,” said former teammate Jody Owens. “I think that was kind of contagious in our program. Also, his hard work and his resiliency that he had was something we pride ourselves on in being a Bobcat."

Barnett was a Bobcat, always putting his teammates first.

That was most prevalent at fall camp a year ago.

When teammate David Dash suffered a career ending injury, Barnett was quick to make sure dash wasn't forgotten, by wearing Dash's #7 practice jersey.

"I wear it because every time you go out there, you never know when your last play is going to be,” said Barnett in August of 2014. “So I have that mindset of always going 110%."

Barnett joined the Bobcats in 2012.

A transfer from the University of Texas, Barnett started at safety during his final two years.

"He wasn't a starter coming over, but he was always on special teams,” said Owens.” He ran down and did his job, never complained one bit."

Following a stellar senior season, Barnett got the opportunity of a lifetime, participating at the MSU pro day, getting a shot at the NFL.

"You do so much testing and stuff like that for this little hour and a half of just drills and the little stuff that you go through and stuff like that,” said Barnett back in March of this year. “It's been stressful, but honestly it's been a blessing because I know a lot of people don't make it this far and get this opportunity."

"During his pro-day he had just gotten out of the hospital a week before,” said Owens. “I know they did an article on him and he said he was just grinding and going after it. The will that he had was awesome."

Losing a brother is not easy, but it gives the Cats something extra to play for.

"I think the guys will use it as motivation,” Owens said. “It will be something that we can build upon where we can look back and say Eryon would be proud of the season we had."

Barnett passed away as a result of complications from pancreatitis at a Bozeman Hospital over the weekend. 

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