Purdue All-America RB Keyes dies at age 74

Leroy Keyes, a two-time All-America running back at Purdue and a College Football Hall of Fame member, died Thursday. He was 74.

Keyes, the only two-time consensus All-American in Purdue history, finished third and second in Heisman Trophy voting in 1968 and 1969, respectively. He set team records for career touchdowns (37), points (222) and all-purpose yards (3,757). In 1987, he was voted Purdue’s all-time greatest player as the program celebrated its 100-year anniversary.

Keyes was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990. He was selected No. 3 overall by Philadelphia in the 1969 NFL draft and played both running back and safety for the team.

“Leroy was a two-way player in the way that matters most — a great athlete and a great person,” Purdue president Mitch Daniels said in a prepared statement. “You never saw him without a smile on his face, or left him without a smile on your own. Every Boilermaker lost a good friend today.”

In 1968, Keyes earned Big Ten MVP honors after leading the nation with 114 points and setting a team record with 19 total touchdowns, which still stands. Keyes also still holds team records for single-season rushing average (6.6 YPC in 1967) and career (5.88).

After his playing career, Keyes worked in Philadelphia schools for 16 years. He coached running backs at Purdue at 1995 and 1996 and remained in the program from 1997 to 1999.

Keyes is survived by his wife, Monica, and four children.

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