The Alabama football family was struck by tragedy on Wednesday, as it was reported that former walk-on LB Rowdy Harrell and his wife were killed in a car crash in Florida while on their honeymoon.

Harrell was part of 3 title-winning Alabama teams and was working on a NASCAR pit crew.

Alabama coach Nick Saban shared his praise for Harrell during his weekly radio call-in show on Wednesday night (via 247Sports):

“Rowdy was the epitome of what (walk-ons) stand for — he’s a hard worker, he had great character,” said Saban on his weekly call-in radio show. “He actually stayed because we wanted to make him a part of the organization. He stayed and worked in the weight room with Scott Cochran for a little while when he got finished playing.

“But man, our thoughts and prayers are out to him and his family and friends. We just absolutely hate it when anybody that’s been a part of our family here has such a tragedy. I know it’s very difficult for them to deal with because he had so much potential as a young person.”

ESPN’s Marty Smith, who knew Harrell through NASCAR circles, also offered his condolences to the Harrell family:

“I live in Charlotte, and this entire town, the fabric of our city is really a NASCAR town,” Smith said. “And Rowdy was one of those guys that just had that spirit that made everyone in the room and everyone in his aura and in his midst feel better about themselves. He had this infectious energy that you could not help but feel joyful when you were around him.

“And when all of us heard it earlier this afternoon, it’s just one of those things that’s so shocking because it was someone — to Coach’s point — that had limitless potential. Our prayers are with him and his family and his bride’s family. It’s just an absolute tragedy.”