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Utah Utes RB Ty Jordan, Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, dies

Utah freshman running back Ty Jordan has died, the school announced Saturday. He was 19.

The Denton (Texas) Police Department told ESPN that its officers responded to a shooting call at 10:38 p.m. ET Friday. Officers discovered a gunshot victim who had been shot one time. After life-saving measures were applied, the victim was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“Following a preliminary investigation, we do believe that this was an accidental shooting, where the victim accidentally shot himself,” Denton Police Department public information officer Allison Beckwith told ESPN.

Jordan, the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year after running for 597 yards with six touchdowns on 83 carries in five games for the Utes, was from Mesquite, Texas, and attended West Mesquite High.

Rest In Peace, #22. Forever in our hearts.

We love you, Ty. pic.twitter.com/ZaXjWKg4Nc

— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) December 26, 2020

“On behalf of the entire University of Utah, our love and condolences to Ty Jordan’s family, friends, teammates and coaches. We are devastated by this heartbreaking news. To watch Ty on the field was to be thrilled by his athleticism and talent. Rest In Peace, Ty,” Utah President Ruth V. Watkins said in a tweeted statement Saturday.

Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said the team is devastated.

“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 said in a statement. “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.”

Jordan was named to the All-Pac-12 second team. He ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in rushing yards and third in rushing yards per game. Jordan was the first Utah freshman to have three consecutive 100-yard rushing games since 1995.

“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.”

In November 2019, a photograph of Jordan and an opposing player from Sherman High School went viral. After Sherman High’s 56-27 victory over West Mesquite High, Sherman’s Gage Smith asked Jordan if they could kneel and pray together. Smith had learned that Jordan’s mother, Tiffany, was battling stage 4 lung and bone cancer.

Jordan’s aunt posted photos of the moment to Facebook.

“It made me cry,” Tiffany Jordan told Today.com at the time. “[Smith] didn’t have to do that. The fact that he took the time to pray with Ty for me, that took my breath away.”

Tiffany Jordan died in August, according to a tweet by Ty Jordan. She was 43.

Dear mom, I love you so much, you’ve shown me over the past couple years how much a warrior you are. Watch over me and guide me momma 💔💔 Rest in Paradise A true Soldier! pic.twitter.com/ESoWShaRS9

— Ty Jordan ✌🏾 (@_ylfotyt) August 14, 2020

“We are deeply saddened and shocked to learn of Ty Jordan’s passing early this morning and our thoughts and prayers are with those who loved him dearly, including the young men in our football program,” Utah AD Mark Harlan said in a statement Saturday. “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. Coach Whittingham and I are working closely to provide support and resources for our Utah Football family in this extremely difficult time.”

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