Highland High School graduate, former OSU star Mike Kudla dies at 34

Mike Kudla of the Pittsburgh Steelers poses for his 2006 NFL headshot at photo day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Getty Images)

CLEVELAND– Former Ohio State defensive end Mike Kudla passed away on Sunday, Highland Local Schools announced on Monday. He was 34 years old.

His cause of death was not released.

Kudla graduated in 2002 from Highland High School, where he was an honor student and four-year letterman.

During his time at OSU, he was a member of the 2002 National Championship team. Kudla was the Buckeyes’ defensive MVP in 2005 and selected to the First Team All-Big Ten. He ranks 14th in Ohio State history for career sacks.

Kudla went undrafted and signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006.

“Despite his success on and off the football field, Mike remained humble and was extremely generous with his time and resources. He was always willing to share his experience and mentor youth. He was loved and respected by many and will be missed terribly,” said Dawn Marzano, Highland Local School District communications director.

After his brief NFL career, Kudla sold insurance and became the managing director of development at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. Later, he owned Core Plex, where he developed and built medical facilities. He also worked with the NFL on protocols for chronic traumatic encephalopathy.