LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — On Monday, about 100 friends gathered to honor Ryan Keeler, 20, a UNLV football player who was found unresponsive in his bed at his apartment last week.
Keeler was a defensive lineman at UNLV and was a highly sought-after player who transferred to UNLV from Rutgers University.
Austin Ajiake who is a former UNLV football player described his bond with Keeler at the vigil which was held on the practice field at the Fertitta Football complex at Rebel Park.
“We would talk about football, our lives, we’d laugh, we’d cry,” Ajiake expressed. “As I think about Ryan and his life, and legacy that is what I’m thinking about are the memories that we shared.”
His fellow teammates and fellow student-athletes lined up on the 47-yard line in his honor on Monday.
“Ryan’s work ethic was the best on the team. His grades were the best on the team. Everything he did was amazing so just channel Ryan’s energy a little bit and use that to be our catalyst,” David Wedly director of student-athlete academic services said.
Keeler was an Academic All-Mountain West honoree who garnered dozens of scholarship offers out of high school.
While his family was unable to attend the vigil, his teammates shared some of the impacts he had on their lives.
“I was really good friends with him. We would come out here together and get extra work in. We were the same position and a huge part of our defense this year,” Darius Johnson, Keller’s teammate expressed.
Keeler’s cause of death is still unknown but 8 News Now has learned his family had traveled to Las Vegas from Chicago and recently headed back home on Monday.
They asked for Monday’s vigil to be recorded so they could have it as a memento.