Jordan was named the Pac-12 Conference Offensive Freshman Player of the Year last week. The native of Mesquite, Texas, rushed for 597 yards and scored six rushing touchdowns in a shortened, five-game season for the Utah Utes.
No cause of death was provided.
Head coach Kyle Whittingham expressed the team’s deep remorse in a statement Saturday.
“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.”
“He was a light, always with a smile on his face,” Whittingham wrote. “One of the hardest working and most humble guys we’ve seen come through this program. We love you, Ty.”
Utah director of athletics Mark Harlan said, “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.”
Last year, a photo of Jordan and an opposing player went viral, showing the two kneeling and praying after a high school football game.
“When you’re playing the game, you’re playing to win and the other team is the enemy, but afterwards you still have respect for the other opponent,” Smith told KXII.
Jordan’s aunt took a photo of the moment in appreciation of the gesture, according to KXII, which was widely shared on social media.
“To see that it blew up I was very surprised by it, and I wasn’t expecting it to be like that you know, I was just doing it for him and doing it for his mom and his family,” Smith said.
Utah teammates took to social media Saturday to pay tribute to Jordan.