When Ty Jordan burst through the line of scrimmage and outran the Colorado defense two weeks ago for a 66-yard touchdown, he emerged as the face of Utah football.
More than leading the Utes to a big win over then-No. 21 Colorado, Jordan gave Utah fans a glimpse of all that would come with him as their running back.
Jordan's promising future ended before it could be fulfilled. He died early Saturday morning while in Texas for the holiday break, though the details of what happened have not officially been confirmed. His college career spanned just five games, but his legacy lives on within the program, the university and the greater college football community.
“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," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement. "Ty’s personality and smile were infectious and he made a huge impact on our program in the short time he was with us. 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.”
Just 19 years old, Jordan had this charisma that attracted nearly everyone around him. His smile and beaming eyes revealed his youthful exuberance, his energy permeating throughout the program.
On the field, Jordan was dynamic, blessed with incredible power, vision and intelligence. The run against Colorado was his top highlight, but it was just one of many breathtaking plays from his short Utah career. He had the skills necessary to play in the NFL.
But what he did without the ball in his hands was perhaps more remarkable. Jordan's mother passed away in August due to cancer. He committed to Utah while she was sick and began his freshman season during one of life's most devastating moments.
It would've been understandable if he had stepped away for a while. After all, there are things more important than football. But Jordan never sulked. He kept working and climbed the depth chart.
With every touch of the ball, Jordan gave Utah football fans hope about a brighter future. Every step he took and word he spoke would've made his mother proud, and in doing so, he created his own legacy.
Whenever people feel down and out, whenever the moment seems impossible, always remember what Jordan did. Not just on that run with the snow lightly falling in Colorado, but with the way he ran through life. Let his legacy be something that unites us all and provides light during the darkest of times.
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