SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The University of Utah Utes will don helmets honoring the life of star running back Ty Jordan, who died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound on Christmas.

After recently being named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2020, 19-year-old Jordan was pronounced dead after an ‘accidental shooting’ while in Texas. A Texas medical examiner’s office says Jordan died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

In late January, the University of Utah’s field and grounds crew painted a heart with a 22 – Jordan’s jersey number – on the grass in front of the football team’s facility. Fans and friends began a memorial for Jordan right outside of the facility after learning of his death.

Additionally, the U of U’s infamous ‘U’ above the school was lit in red – as they do after every football victory – in honor of Jordan. 

BYU Football, usually a rival, gifted Utah Football with a number of items to honor Jordan’s life, seen below. Numerous other universities extended their thoughts and prayers.

The University of Utah has established the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded to a student-athlete in the football program who exemplifies the inspiring qualities that Jordan displayed through his work ethic, positivity and perseverance through adversity.

The first gift to the fund is being made by Utah Football Head Coach Kyle Whittingham and his wife Jamie, in the amount of $100,000. Those wishing to donate to the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship may do so through a secure online portal accessible at this link.

During their first spring game on April 17, in front of a crowd of 6,500 fans in Rice Eccles Stadium, the University of Utah Utes will wear helmets with a logo of a heart with ‘LLTJ’ – Long Live Ty Jordan – inside. Utah Football shared photos of the helmets, seen below, on Twitter Thursday:

  • U of U Ty Jordan helmets | Courtesy Utah Football
  • U of U Ty Jordan helmets | Courtesy Utah Football
  • U of U Ty Jordan helmets | Courtesy Utah Football
  • U of U Ty Jordan helmets | Courtesy Utah Football

Saturday’s game – the annual Red-White spring game – will be the first time the Utes will play in front of fans at Rice Eccles Stadium since November 2019.

“It’ll be great,” says head coach Kyle Whittingham on how it will feel to have fans back at Rice Eccles Stadium. “It’s a step in the right direction and we’re hoping we’ll be able to be at full capacity in the fall. That may be a little optimistic, but that’s what we’re hoping for.”

Fans won’t just see the team back on the field at the spring game, they will also have a look at the progress being made in the south end of the stadium. Construction is underway on the Ken Garff Performance Zone, an $85 million upgrade to Rice Eccles Stadium that will include new locker rooms, VIP luxury box seating, and 5,000 additional seats.

The upgrade will convert the stadium’s horseshoe shape into a fully enclosed ring of seating around the field.