For the second time in less than a year, the Utah football program is mourning the loss of one of its own.

The two Utes players that have died during that time shared a deep, special connection. 

Sophomore defensive back Aaron Lowe, 21, was shot and killed early Sunday morning, according to Salt Lake police, and another person was seriously injured.

Lowe’s close friend, running back Ty Jordan, died from an accidental shooting last Christmas night. 

It’s a devastating and unfathomable turn of events for the program that is still healing after Jordan’s death.

Utah football's Aaron Lowe killed in Sunday morning shooting
Utah football program, others react to death of Aaron Lowe

During the offseason, Lowe announced he was changing his uniform number from No. 2 to No. 22 as a tribute to Jordan.

The school established a scholarship in Jordan’s name and before the season kicked off, Lowe was named the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship by Utah’s Leadership Council. 

Lowe and Jordan were high school teammates at West Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas. 

University of Utah football player Aaron Lowe.
Utah defensive back Aaron Lowe | University of Utah Athletics

“Ty made everyone around him better,” Lowe said when he received the scholarship. “He made me better. My friendship with Ty means a lot because he was always pushing me to be my best. He never let me settle for less. I want to make sure his legacy lives on through me.”

While Jordan impacted Lowe, Lowe impacted Jordan as well. Lowe played an instrumental role in bringing Jordan to Utah in the fall of 2020. When Jordan de-committed from the University of Texas, Lowe encouraged Jordan to find a home with the Utes. And he did.

As a freshman last fall, in just five games, Jordan earned Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors, averaging 119.4 yards rushing per game.  

Lowe’s on-field impact at Utah wasn’t as visible. He arrived on campus in 2019 and played in 11 games as a true freshman, saw time in all five games in 2020, mostly on special teams, and he played in the Utes’ first four games of 2021, including Saturday’s win over Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

At the end of the third quarter, the school held “a moment of loudness” in honor of Jordan, just as it did in the season-opener against Weber State on Sept. 2. As Jordan’s highlights from last season played on the big screens at the stadium, fans cheered for Jordan.

Hours after the game Saturday, as news of Lowe’s passing spread, his teammates conveyed their shock, grief and love on social media. 

  • “Why do the good have to die young?” wrote linebacker Devin Lloyd on Twitter. “Love you brother. Rest in paradise.”
  • “God bless A Lowe’s soul,” wrote center Nick Ford. “Can’t keep losing brothers left and right.”
  • “Rest in Peace My (brother)!” wrote defensive lineman Xavier Carlton. “You will forever be in my heart.”
  • “Rest In Peace A Lowe,” wrote quarterback Cam Rising. “Love you brother.”

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and athletic director Mark Harlan both issued statements about Lowe. 

“We are devastated to hear about the passing of Aaron Lowe. Our thoughts and prayers are with Aaron’s family and friends, along with the other individual who was harmed in this tragic incident,” Whittingham said. “Aaron was a great teammate, friend, brother and son and was loved by anyone who crossed paths with him. He will be deeply missed.”

“We are devastated by the loss of Aaron Lowe earlier this morning. Aaron was a terrific young man, a leader on our football team, and a rock of resiliency and courage,” Harlan said. “Our prayers are with Aaron’s family, friends, teammates and all who knew and loved him. We also express our deepest concern for the other individual who has been hospitalized as a result of this tragic incident. We have been in communication with Aaron’s family and we are providing support to them, as well as to the student-athletes, coaches and staff in all of our athletics programs, and our focus will remain on them.”

Before the season, Lowe said he wanted to represent and honor Jordan’s legacy. 

“Since the day I met him, I knew he would be a good person,” Lowe said. “And it was because people always looked up to him. People always wanted to be around him. It was his personality that influenced me. I had someone in him — someone who came from where I came from. It is because of him that I changed to No. 22. The impact you left on me and all of your friends that will be something we will never forget.” 

When the school announced the creation of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship, it said it “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.”

According to his teammates and coaches, Lowe embodied the spirit of those attributes. 

And now, the Utes are mourning another devastating death of a beloved member of their football family.