There is ZERO chance that former Utah running back Ty Jordan is forgotten anytime soon.
Speaking from Jordan's 'Celebration of Life' at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday, Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said that Jordan's legacy will continue to live on and shine. Utah athletic teams who compete this spring will wear patches honoring the memory of Jordan.
“Furthermore, on behalf of 35,000 students at the University of Utah, it’s my honor, and my pleasure on behalf of our president. And you’ve heard about his academic success. When I’m done here, I’m going to hand you a certificate of the incredible achievement he had academically at the University of Utah,” Harlan said.
“He was remarkable. Many of our student-athletes are suffering right now. I got to know Ty as well, but when I talked to our other students and our other teams, I learned quickly he was the mayor of the residence hall. So that’s why as you see our teams compete this spring you will see a patch honoring Ty. Our basketball programs, soccer programs, and lacrosse programs, because he knew everybody as you know, he was social. We’re so sorry for your loss, but it’s my honor to present this to you.”
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.
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 not only climbed the depth chart, he spent that time uniting Utah athletes of all sports.
Jordan finished the season with 597 rushing yards on just 83 carries with six touchdowns, an average of 119.4 rushing yards per game that ranked ninth in the country and No. 1 amongst freshman.
He capped off his sensational debut season when he was named the Pac-12's Offensive Freshman of the Year — he was just the second Ute to win a conference yearly award, joining the man he replaced in Zack Moss.
Jordan began to shine in just his second game of his career when he was electric against Washington, perennially one of the top defenses in the nation. Despite suffering a 24-21 heart-breaking loss, Jordan showed why he was dangerous with the ball in his hands when he ran for 97 yards on just 10 carries — and that was while still sharing carries with Brumfield and Wilmore.
If Utah fans thought that was good, they had no idea what was in store for them over the final three games of the year when he was elevated to starter.
Jordan averaged 156 yards rushing and two touchdowns per game in leading the Utes to victories over Oregon State, then No. 21 Colorado and Washington State. That number rushing would've ranked third in the nation and second in the Pac-12.
"The simplest thing I can say is that I love Ty, and I miss him," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said on Wednesday. "As the head coach of the football team, you really have 120 adopted sons — you care for them like your sons. You love them, you hurt when they hurt, and it's just a special bond. That's probably been why I've been in this profession so long is the relationship with these young men, and you end up loving them all. Some of them it takes a little longer to connect with than others. I connected with Ty on day one; that was an immediate connection."
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