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.

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.


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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:

“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: