Purdue football legend Leroy Keyes dies at 74
Purdue football legend Leroy Keyes has died at the age of 74, his family announced on Thursday morning.
According to a statement from his family, Keyes passed away peacefully earlier this morning.
A statement from Leroy Keyes’ family on his passing: pic.twitter.com/vBGuoSkKYm
— Andrew Pogar (@AndrewPogar) April 15, 2021
Keyes was a two-time All American for Purdue in the late 1960s. He was an excellent runner and receiver for the Boilermakers, culminating in his 1967 season that saw him gain 1,744 yards from scrimmage and score 19 touchdowns.
Keyes finished in the top three in Heisman Trophy voting in both 1967 and 1968. In 1968, he was a clear second place to USC running back O.J. Simpson.
He was also an exceptional defensive back. So much so that when the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him No. 3 overall in 1969, they mostly used him at cornerback. His best NFL season came in 1971 when he intercepted six passes and recovered two fumbles.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm released a statement on Twitter on Thursday morning:
— Jeff Brohm (@JeffBrohm) April 15, 2021
“We are saddened by the loss of a true Boilermaker legend,” Brohm wrote in-part. “His accomlishments as a player and the heights he took Purdue football are unprecedented. In addition to being an all-time great player, he was an even better person.”
Here’s some of the other reaction to Keyes’ passing:
One of The Greatest Boilermakers there ever was. Always had a smile on his face and impacted many people throughout the Boilermaker community! R.I.P to the Legend Leroy Keyes‼️🙏🏾 https://t.co/Sx2lc8aXy8
— Bilal Marshall (@Coach__Lal) April 15, 2021
Purdue's Leroy Keyes played an important role in Gatorade's growth.
#1 Purdue beat Theismann's #2 Irish in 1968 in South Bend.
Purdue had ordered Gatorade in the first year it was for sale. Notre Dame did not.
After Purdue & Keyes trounced them, ND became a Gatorade customer. pic.twitter.com/plqC6ApkwK
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 15, 2021
#Purdue confirms Leroy Keyes, a two-time All-America running back at the school and a first-round NFL draft pick in 1969, passed away Thursday at 74.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) April 15, 2021
— Stroh Brann (@strohbrann) April 15, 2021
RIP to the Purdue legend Leroy Keyes., legit 2-way star with the Boilermakers. Dynamo at DB and HB. Nearly won the Heisman in 1967 and 1968. Finished 3rd to Gary Beban and O.J. in 1967 and 2nd to Simpson in 1968. pic.twitter.com/ml9jCQW7vV
— rickbozich (@rickbozich) April 15, 2021
“Give the Ball to Leroy”. I remember finding that button in my moms things when I was a kid and asking what it meant. I was told about a great Purdue football player named Leroy Keyes. 1/2 https://t.co/h7OVzknGCR
— Heather K Maddox (@HeatherKMaddox) April 15, 2021
Purdue lost one of its all-time legends as Marvin "Leroy" Keyes passed away this a.m. at the age of 74. Keyes was voted Purdue's all-time greatest football player in 1987. https://t.co/aonB5mjh4K pic.twitter.com/5EBMN9phsb
— GoldandBlack.com (@GoldandBlackcom) April 15, 2021