Timothy McNerney was a running back for Washington & Jefferson College, about 20 miles from Pittsburgh.
Police say the 21-year-old senior died Thursday morning of a head injury after he and a friend were mugged coming home from an off-campus bar. Police have no suspects.
McNerney's friend told police he didn't recognize the assailants, who tried to steal a cellphone.
After a scuffle, the injured friend ran back to campus and alerted authorities. McNerney was later found unresponsive near the robbery site. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The campus held a vigil Thursday night for McNerney, who was from Butler. College President Tori Haring-Smith says the community is heartbroken.