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SALT LAKE CITY — Many talented players have come through the University of Utah football program, including No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith, but none to date have had their jersey number retired with the program.
Until Saturday when Utah officially retires No. 22 in honor of running back Ty Jordan and defensive back Aaron Lowe.
Best friends growing up, the two were tragically killed nine months apart due to shootings. The two are buried next to each other in a cemetery in Mesquite, Texas, and will forever have their jerseys inseparably linked at Rice-Eccles Stadium after Saturday.
The program will officially retire the number between the first and second quarter of Utah's "Dark Mode" game against UCLA in a vital matchup for South division supremacy.
"I think it's awesome," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said Tuesday night. "It's something that seemed to me that obviously needed to be done, and thankful to our administration for agreeing. You're going to see a nice ceremony, I guess you would call it, in the game on Saturday."
Both the Jordan and Lowe family will be in attendance, he said. "Looking forward to honoring both those young men"
Whittingham announced earlier in the year that the university planned to retire the number, and it was reiterated during Lowe's funeral. Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan confirmed it during the funeral, as well.
"We're also going to retire the jersey number, and some other things that we have planned," Whittingham said. "We just love this young man. ... Aaron, we love you and we will miss you."
Earlier in the season, Utah dedicated Section 22 of Rice-Eccles Stadium to Jordan, as well a "moment of loudness" in honor of Jordan between the third and fourth quarter. Following Lowe's death, the university added a moment to honor the defensive back based on his "infectious smile."
"It really means a lot," freshman safety Zamaiah Vaughn said. "For both Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan, I was close to both of them. Ty was the first person I met on campus when I got here last year, so it means a lot to me."
This Saturday, between the first and second quarter, we will retire #22. We ask that all in attendance remain in their seats during this break.— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 26, 2021
We love you, Ty & Aaron. #22forever ♥️