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University of Utah freshman running back Ty Jordan dead at 19

Utah Utes running back Ty Jordan (22) carries the ball against Washington State Cougars defensive back Hunter Escorcia (31) during an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020.

(Yukai Peng, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY β€” University of Utah freshman running back Ty Jordan has died.

The University of Utah football team tweeted Saturday morning "Rest In Peace, #22. Forever in our hearts. We love you, Ty."

Jordan, 19, who recently won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award and won the starting job at Utah, reportedly died Friday night. The news was first shared in a tweet by @TrueBuzzFB and then shared by many of his teammates on Twitter.

The details surrounding his death are not clear, though Denton, Texas, police reported a "single gunshot victim" Friday night. The agency clarified that after a preliminary investigation was done, the gun was "accidentally discharged by the victim." Police, however, have not identified the individual involved in the accidental shooting.

Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement that "words cannot express the devastation and heartache that our team is feeling right now upon learning of the tragic death of our teammate and brother, Ty Jordan."

"Ty's personality and smile were infectious and he made a huge impact on our program in the short time he was with us," Whittingham added. "He leaves an indelible mark on each of us and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. From the bottom of our hearts, all of us in the Utah Football Family want to say we love you Ty and may you rest in peace."

Mark Harlan, athletic director for Utah Athletics, said the program is "deeply saddened and shocked."

"Our priority is on supporting his family and the student-athletes, coaches and staff in our football program who are so deeply hurting right now," he said. "Coach Whittingham and I are working closely to provide support and resources for our Utah Football family in this extremely difficult time."

The Pac-12 Conference echoed similar thoughts.

"We share in the shock and sadness felt by our Utah community today upon learning of the passing of one of our family members, Ty Jordan," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with his loved ones. The entire Pac-12 and college football family mourns this tremendous loss."

The former three-star running back played in all five games for Utah this season and quickly won the starting job. Jordan finished his season and career with 597 rushing yards on 83 carries for an average of 7.2 yards per carry. He also added 126 receiving yards on 11 receptions.

In his final game, Jordan rushed for three touchdowns to help Utah erase a 21-point deficit and beat Washington State. The performance was the first time since 2018 β€” when former running back Zack Moss did it β€” that Utah had a player score three touchdowns in a game.

"It means a lot actually to be mentioned with the name Zack Moss," Jordan said after the game. "He's done so many great things for the program. I know I got some big shoes to fill. I haven't really gotten there yet. So I'm just going to stay hungry, stay humble. It just feels great, though, it feels like I made my mom proud, and that's all I want."

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Josh is the Sports Director for and beat writer of University of Utah athletics β€” primarily football, men’s basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.


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