ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Navy football senior offensive lineman David Forney died Thursday night after being found unresponsive in Bancroft Hall. He was 22 years old.
Forney was a three-year letter-winner on the football team and played in 39 consecutive games over his final three years.
This year, Forney started all 13 games at guard for the Midshipmen and was the anchor of an offensive line that set a school record and led the nation in rushing, averaging 360.5 yards per game. Forney was extremely proud of being part of a senior class that authored the second-greatest turnaround in the history of FBS football as the Mids won a school-record tying 11 games, won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, shared the American Athletic Conference West Division title and won the Liberty Bowl. Forney was named First-Team American Athletic Conference and First-Team All-East.
“Words cannot express our pain and sorrow,” said Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo. “First and foremost, our deepest condolences to the Forney family. The Navy Football Brotherhood is not a team, we are a family. We are devastated to have lost one of our brothers. We all loved – and will always love – David. We pray for strength during this most difficult time.”
“There is no tighter bond or commitment to each other than found within the Navy football family. To lose a brother is devastating to these young men who grow closer every minute during their four years at the Academy,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “We are a community that is in emotional pain today. Our deepest condolences to his immediate family and all of his friends. David’s memory and the influence he had on everyone he touched will live on and remain an inspiration forever within the annals of Navy football and the Brigade of Midshipmen.”
“The entire Naval Academy family – the Brigade of Midshipmen, the faculty, staff, and coaches – are heartbroken over the tragic and unexpected loss of Midshipman David Forney,” said Vice Adm. Sean Buck, 63rd Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy. “On behalf of the Naval Academy family, my wife, Joanne, and I extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the Forney family, their friends, as well as to David’s extended Naval Academy family.”
“I’m at a loss for words, it’s hard to believe that we’ve lost David Forney,” said Navy offensive line coach Ashley Ingram, who was Forney’s position coach all four years. “He was an all-time great Navy offensive lineman, but he was so much more than that. He was the heartbeat behind this season’s record-breaking offense. He loved football, his teammates and the Naval Academy. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy will live on. My love and prayers go out to his family and The Brotherhood. RIP #68.”
“It’s with a heavy heart that I say a few words about one of my best friends, David Forney. He was the guy I had the blessing and honor to play next to these past few years,” said starting center Ford Higgins, one of four Navy captains. “During our time on the football field there was a special and unique kinship that was forged through our time in the trenches together. There are uncountable instances where I felt like Dave and I worked together as one mind. He was such a great guy and even better friend. He was universally loved on and off the field by teammates and classmates. The Forney family will be in our thoughts and prayers. I loved him dearly and I will miss him forever.”
Forney, a native of Walkersville, Maryland and a 2015 graduate of Georgetown Prep, is survived by his parents, Rick and Erika Forney, younger brothers, Chris and Erik, and sister, Rebekah.
Forney, who was a member of the 9th Company and a political science major, would have graduated on May 22 and had been assigned to commission as a cryptologic warfare officer.
Service arrangements for Forney are still pending.