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UNLV football player dead at age 20

Ryan Keeler
Ryan Keeler
Posted at 3:40 PM, Feb 21, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KTNV) — The UNLV community is mourning the loss of Rebel football player Ryan Keeler, who died in Las Vegas on Monday.

“We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rebel family,” said first-year UNLV football head coach Barry Odom. “While I had the honor of knowing Ryan for only a couple of months, he already stood out to our coaching staff as an incredible person, student and teammate. Our condolences and prayers go out to Ryan’s family as we grieve along with them over this tremendous loss.”

Keeler, 20, was a defensive lineman from Chicago who had just completed his redshirt freshman season. The graduate of Nazareth Academy transferred to UNLV from Rutgers University last season and went on to play in seven games, totaling eight tackles, a UNLV spokesperson shared in a statement. A highly recruited player who garnered dozens of scholarship offers out of high school, Keeler recorded his first collegiate quarterback sack vs. Air Force on Oct. 15, 2022.

Keeler was an Academic All-Mountain West honoree with a 3.80 grade-point average.

“The UNLV family is in mourning today over the sudden loss of one of our own,” said UNLV director of athletics Erick Harper. “Our hearts go out to all of Ryan’s family and friends along with his Rebel teammates.”

"Words are hard to come by this evening as we grieve the sudden and tragic loss of UNLV student-athlete Ryan Keeler," said UNLV president Keith E. Whitfield. "My sincere condolences are with Ryan's family, friends, loved ones, and teammates during this very difficult time."

A cause of death has not been released.

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