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Portland State mourns linebacker AJ Schlatter

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Portland State is mourning the loss of AJ Schlatter, a standout linebacker for Portland State University, who died Sunday of complications from tonsil surgery.

Schlatter’s father, James, posted on Facebook that he believes AJ might have developed a blood clot after the Friday operation.

“He was such a inspiration to me and I was and am so PROUD to be his father,” James Schlatter wrote. “In his 20-plus years he became a greater man then I could ever dream of becoming! He loved being a member of the PSU Vikings football team and the players were like brothers to him.”AJ SCHLATTER

AJ Schlatter, from Canby High, walked on to the PSU team and earned a scholarship, moving into the starting lineup this past season as Portland State made the FCS playoffs and was ranked as high as fifth in the nation.

"My heart is with the Schlatter family. They are our focus right now," PSU coach Bruce Barnum said in a statement released Monday morning by the school. "We lost a diamond that will never be replaced. He was the definition of what we are about at PSU."

Schlatter's family has had deep roots at Portland State. His mother, Terri Jo, starred in volleyball and was an assistant coach and is a member of the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame. His father served as a PSU assistant football coach in the 1980s. His sister, Garyn, also starred in volleyball for the Vikings.

Schlatter had just completed his redshirt freshman season. He started 10 games for the Vikings in 2015, making 62 tackles. He was named Big Sky Conference defensive player of the week after a win over Eastern Washington on Nov. 21. He had 12 tackles, two sacks, intercepted a pass and forced a fumble in that game.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Schlatter family with all the compassion and sympathy we can bring to bear during this difficult time." PSU athletic director Mark Rountree said in a statement. "Things like this aren't suppose to happen. We cherish every student's well-being, and the loss of AJ will be tough on our family. He represented his family and Portland State with passion, courage, and humility that made us all proud. He will be missed."

As a two-way player for the Canby football team, Schlatter earned all-league honors as a tight end and a linebacker his senior year in 2013.

Canby High social studies teacher Robert Hammitt viewed Schlatter as an "incredible leader," humble and a tireless worker.

"The first thing to learn is why so many people liked and respected AJ so much. It is because through a level of hard work and commitment that few are capable of, AJ reached his potential," Hammitt said on Facebook. "He busted his rear end, day after day, for years to achieve his goals. I've witnessed very few people who ever fully committed themselves to their goals as AJ Schlatter.

"Tied to that is how he handled his success. AJ was always humble, nice, classy, appreciative of his talents and opportunities. He carried himself in a manner we all wish that more would, including ourselves."