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Slain Idaho football player had just been awarded full scholarship

May 14, 2012 |  4:20 pm

Ken McRoyal had just been awarded a full scholarshipThe family of a University of Idaho student athlete shot to death early Sunday in Lincoln Heights was preparing a surprise party for him this week to celebrate his full football scholarship for the upcoming year.

Ken McRoyal had not known the party was being planned, said his head coach Robb Akey during a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon.

Akey said he will attend the Southern California services for McRoyal, which will take place next week, along with the team’s captains and numerous players from the area.

McRoyal’s body will then be sent to his native New Orleans for burial, Akey said.

McRoyal was shot to death at a party at the Brewery Lofts in Lincoln Heights early Sunday, only days after returning from Idaho for a visit to Southern California.  Police are searching for four men in the attack, all of whom fled after the shooting.

McRoyal was excited to be back in L.A. and tweeted less than an hour before he was shot: "Wasup L.A I'm here show me sum luv!"

McRoyal, 5' 9" and a muscular 185 pounds, had gone to the school as a walk-on last fall at the urging of his cousin, Dominique Blackman, the team's quarterback, Akey said. He spent last season as a backup wide receiver and special teams player.

He had a strong spring practice and earned a starting spot at slot receiver, Akey said.

The coach said he gave McRoyal the news of the scholarship after spring practice ended two weeks ago. He last spoke to McRoyal last week, as school was ending, the day before McRoyal flew to Los Angeles.

“It was obviously a very big deal. He was excited to be able to be put on scholarship," Akey said. "I’m glad I told him how much he meant to me before he left."

Akey said he had spent the last day talking with McRoyal's family and members of the team, who are now scattered around the country.

"All of them are feeling a loss," he said. "A mama has lost her son on Mother’s Day. There’s a little girl who’s not going to have the opportunity to have a daddy."


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 -- Sam Quinones


Photo: Ken McRoyal. Credit: University of Idaho