UNLV football player Ryan Keeler dead at age 20

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UNLV football player Ryan Keeler was found dead Monday, the university announced. He was 20 years old.

Keeler died in Las Vegas, the university said Monday. His cause of death was not announced.

“We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rebel family,” said Barry Odom, UNLV’s newly hired football coach. “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.”

One of Keeler’s UNLV teammates found him dead Monday afternoon, police sources told TMZ. Foul play was not suspected.

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

Keeler was a star defensive lineman at Nazareth Academy in the west Chicago suburb of La Grange. He helped his team to a state title in 2018 and a runner-up finish in 2019 before his 2020 senior season was canceled due to COVID.

Keeler received scholarship offers from Rutgers, Boston College, Arizona and Cincinnati, among others. He chose to start his collegiate career at Rutgers, but didn’t see the field during his first year on campus.

After the 2021 season, Keeler transferred to UNLV. The next year, he appeared in two games, tallying eight tackles and one sack.

“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.”