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UNLV football player Ryan Keeler dies

UNLV defensive lineman Ryan Keeler died Monday in Las Vegas. He was 20.

No cause of death was given in a news release issued by UNLV.

“We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rebel family,” first-year football coach Barry Odom said in the release. “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, a 6-foot-6-inch, 275-pound sophomore from Chicago, played in seven games last season and had eight tackles and one sack.

He transferred from Rutgers before the season as a redshirt freshman. He was a three-star recruit after attending Nazareth Academy in Chicago.

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

Keeler was an academic All-Mountain West honoree, holding a 3.80 GPA in pre-business. He was named Rebel of the Week on Feb. 12 by Odom during the team’s offseason training program.

Several current and former UNLV players posted condolences for Keeler’s family on their social media accounts.

“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. “My sincere condolences are with Ryan’s family, friends, loved ones and teammates during this very difficult time.”

Review-Journal reporter Sam Gordon contributed to this story. Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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