A strong contingent from the University of Utah football program, including numerous players, attended an emotional celebration of life for Utes freshman running back Ty-Coreous Jordan Wednesday at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.  

Jordan was clad in his Utah No. 22 uniform in a Utah-red casket that stood at the 50-yard line, flanked by a framed Jordan jersey, and flowers shaped in a block “U” logo. 

At the end of the two-hour service, Utah players carried the casket to the end zone at the home of the Dallas Cowboys and gave him one final cheer. 

Head coach Kyle Whittingham, running backs coach Kiel McDonald and athletic director Mark Harlan were among those who spoke in honor of Jordan, who rushed for 597 yards and six touchdowns in five games for the Utes.

Jordan, 19, died Christmas night in Denton, Texas, after what police have called an accidental shooting. In August, Jordan’s mother, Tiffany, died after a long battle with cancer. 

Friends and family descended upon AT&T Stadium to memorialize the popular running back known for his “incandescent smile” and easygoing, caring demeanor. 

“I want to thank the Jordan family for sending Ty our way. The simplest thing I can say, is that I love Ty, and I miss him. One thing I can say for certain — we will all see Ty again. Someday, we’ll see him again, and that’s a guarantee.” — Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham

“I want to thank the Jordan family for sending Ty our way,” said Whittingham. “The simplest thing I can say is that I love Ty, and I miss him. One thing I can say for certain — we will all see Ty again. Someday, we’ll see him again, and that’s a guarantee.”

Harlan noted Jordan’s popularity among his fellow Utah students, calling him “the mayor of the residence hall because he knew everybody.”

Utah’s teams in all sports will wear a patch honoring Jordan this year, said Harlan. 

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Jordan achieved a GPA over 3.0 in his time at Utah, Whittingham said. Harlan presented the Jordan family a certificate of academic achievement on behalf of the university.

The school announced Tuesday it has established the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship. Whittingham and his wife, Jamie, are making the first gift to the fund in the amount of $100,000.

Whittingham tenderly recalled his interactions with Jordan. 

“As the head coach of a football team, you really have 120 adopted sons. You care for them like your sons,” he said. “You love them, you hurt when they hurt, and it’s just a special bond, and that’s probably the reason I’ve been in this business for so long, the relationship with these young men. You end up loving them all. Some of them take longer to connect with more than others. I connected with Ty on Day One. That was an immediate  connection.”

University of Utah football players carry the coffin of Ty Jordan from the end zone in a final tribute to their former teammate, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Jordan was killed after an accidental shooting on Christmas night. | Amanda McCoy, Star-Telegram via Associated Press

During his remarks, Whittingham related what happened at Jordan’s first practice with the Utes, just a few months ago. He asked Jordan what name he preferred to be known by and the young freshman said his full name is Ty-Coreous but that some call him “Ty-Ty.”

“From that day forward,” Whittingham said, “he was always Ty-Ty Jordan to me … the smile, the infectious personality, the sparkle in his eyes, he was just a special young man.” 

Several of Jordan’s relatives and friends from Texas also spoke and sang in tribute to him. 

McDonald called Jordan “tough, competitive, special” and “a young man with a very bright future.”

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McDonald added that Jordan had a “million-dollar smile, from cheek to cheek, you could barely see his eyes. He would light up the room. He loved life to the fullest.”

As many as 1,000 viewers watched the live stream of the service on Facebook. 

During the service, highlights of Jordan playing for Utah were shown on the gigantic television screen that hangs above the field at AT&T Stadium.

One of his coaches from Texas said that while Jordan was on his recruiting visit to Utah, he texted him, “I’m home.” The coach noted that Jordan is now “home” with his mother.

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