UNLV Football Player Ryan Keeler Dead at 20

UNLV Football Player Ryan Keeler Dead at 20

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is mourning the death of one of its student athletes.

The school confirmed that a member of its Rebels football team, Ryan Keeler, died in Las Vegas on Feb. 20. He was 20 years old. A cause of death was not revealed.

"The UNLV family is in mourning today over the sudden loss of one of our own," UNLV Director of Athletics Erick Harper said in a statement shared to the school's website. "Our hearts go out to all of Ryan's family and friends along with his Rebel teammates."

According to the university, Keeler had just finished his redshirt freshman season. The school noted the defensive lineman had played in seven games, totaling eight tackles, and that he got his first collegiate quarterback sack during the team's game against the Air Force Falcons in October.

"We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rebel family," UNLV Football Head Coach Barry Odom also shared. "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."

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Keeler had transferred to UNLV from Rutgers University in 2022. In high school, he played for Nazareth Academy in his home state of Illinois, helping his team secure a class A state championship in 2018.

"There are no words," the Nazareth Academy football team shared on Twitter. "Our hearts are heavy. God bless the Keeler family. We love you Ryan."

Ryan Keeler, UNLV Rebels
Christopher Trim/CSM/Shutterstock

In addition to being an athlete, Keeler was a strong student. According to UNLV, the sophomore was an Academic All-Mountain West honoree and had a 3.80 grade point average in pre-business.

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

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