University: Utah star freshman running back Ty Jordan dead

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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) — Ty Jordan, a star freshman running back for the University of Utah who grew up in the Dallas area, has died, school officials announced Saturday.

After preliminary investigation, Denton police believe he accidentally shot himself. A day earlier, the 19-year-old was named Pac-12’s newcomer of the year.

“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 coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement.

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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.

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

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