Standout Utah running back from Texas Ty Jordan dies

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FILE – In this Dec. 19, 2020, file photo, Utah running back Ty Jordan (22) scores against Washington State during the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Salt Lake City. Jordan, a star freshman running back for the University of Utah who grew up in the Dallas area, has died, school officials announced Saturday, Dec. 26. Authorities in Texas and Utah have not released details about the circumstances of the Jordan’s death. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

DALLAS (AP/KXAN) — Ty Jordan, a star freshman running back for the University of Utah who grew up in the Dallas area, died at a Dallas-area hospital after accidently shooting himself, authorities said Sunday.

University officials announced Jordan’s death Saturday, a day after he was named Pac-12’s newcomer of the year, but did not release details.

Jordan, 19, died in an emergency room at a hospital in Denton around 10:45 p.m. on Christmas Day, according to medical examiner’s records.

Police officers had responded about an hour earlier to reports of a shooting at a home in Denton, a city 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of downtown Dallas. The officers found a man had accidently shot himself in the hip and began giving first aid, Denton police spokeswoman Allison Beckwith told The Associated Press Saturday. She said the man later died at a hospital and that investigators did not know how he came to shoot himself.

Beckwith declined to identify the man by name, but online case records from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s on Sunday showed it was Jordan.

Jordan’s cause of death is listed as “gunshot wound of abdomen” in the records. His manner of death has not yet been released and officials with the medical examiner’s office could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday. The Denton police did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Jordan, a speedy 5-foot-7, 200-pound player, emerged from a crowded Utah backfield to become the focal point of the team’s offense. He finished the season with 597 yards rushing, 11 catches for 126 yards and six touchdowns.

“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 Football Coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement.

Jordan came up as a tailback playing in Mesquite, a Dallas suburb, and was a highly touted recruit. He made a seamless transition to the college game, including three straight 100-yard rushing performances to close out the season.

Utah Football lit its block “U”, which is lit during campus athletic events, in honor of Jordan on Saturday night.

During his recruitment, Jordan reportedly chose Utah over the Texas Longhorns, signing with the Utes in the 2019 early signing period.

Longhorns head coach Tom Herman released a statement on social media Saturday.

“We are heartbroken to hear of Ty’s passing. We got to know him well during the recruiting process. His smile, infectious personality and toughness are what we’ll remember most. Our prayers for comfort go out to the many who loved him and the Utah football family,” Herman’s statement read.

Utah was one of nearly two dozen major college football teams to decline an opportunity to play a postseason bowl game, instead allowing players who had been in strict COVID-19 protocols for months begin their off-seasons.

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