The Nazareth community is mourning the death of recent alumnus Ryan Keeler, who passed away in Las Vegas on Monday.
Keeler played football at Nazareth Academy and began his college career at Rutgers. He transferred to UNLV in 2021.
"We are devastated by the loss of a member of the Nazareth Family, especially someone so young," said Tim Racki, Nazareth Academy dean of students and head football coach, in a statement provided to NBC Chicago. "Ryan was a valued member of the Football program. Aside from his incredible talents as a fierce competitor on the field, Ryan was a selfless leader who consistently encouraged his teammates with love, humor and compassion. More importantly, he was an incredible mentor to many of our younger players and left a legacy that is still felt to this today.
"We have been touched by the outpouring of love from our Nazareth community. We are holding the entire Keeler Family in our prayers right now."
According to TMZ, no cause of death has been announced yet, but foul play is not suspected.
"We are devastated to have lost a member of our Rebel family," said first-year UNLV football head coach Barry Odom via UNLV.com. "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."
"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 via UNLV.com. "My sincere condolences are with Ryan's family, friends, loved ones, and teammates during this very difficult time."
Keeler had just completed his freshman season as a defensive lineman with the Rebels, and recorded eight tackles and one sack in seven games. He had a 3.80 GPA as a pre-business student, which earned him Academic All-Mountain West honors.
Keeler was 20 years old.