Ty Jordan was named the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year earlier this week

By Georgia Slater
December 26, 2020 05:00 PM
Ty Jordan
Credit: Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Utah running back Ty Jordan, who had a standout freshman season with the Utes this year, died early Saturday morning, the school's athletic department announced. He was 19.

The Denton Police Department in Texas tells PEOPLE that officers responded to a shooting call on Friday night and located a single gunshot victim at the scene. The victim was then transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The shooting was "believed to be an accident, where the victim shot himself once in the hip with a handgun," Denton Police Department public information officer Allison Beckwith said.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said the team was devastated to hear the news of Jordan's death, he shared in a statement on Saturday.

"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. Ty's personality and smile were infectious and he made a huge impact on our program in the short time he was with us," Whittingham said.

The coach added, "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 days ahead of his death, Jordan was named the Pac-12's Offensive Freshman of the Year, becoming the first Ute to earn a freshman of the year award and only the second Ute to win any of the league’s yearly awards, according to the conference's site.

The Dallas native ran 597 yards on 83 carries with six rushing touchdowns after playing just five games in this year's shortened season.

Jordan was also the first Ute freshman to have three-straight 100-yard rushing games since 1995.

"We are deeply saddened and shocked to learn of Ty Jordan passing early this morning and our thoughts and prayers are with those who loved him dearly, including the young men in our football program," Mark Harlan, Utah director of athletics, wrote in a statement.

"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," Harlan added.

Ruth V. Watkins, president of the University of Utah, also paid tribute to Jordan, writing on Twitter, "To watch Ty on the field was to be thrilled by his athleticism and talent. Rest In Peace, Ty."