Ty Jordan, a former West Mesquite High football player and University of Utah standout has died, the college confirmed Saturday.
Jordan, 19, graduated from West Mesquite High School in spring 2020 and "was just beginning a promising career in college football at the University of Utah," Principal Karen Morris said.
"Ty was loved by his teachers and admired by his peers," Morris said in a statement. "We are heartbroken by this tragic loss and wish peace and comfort to Ty's family and friends."
Denton police released few details Saturday about the incident that led to Jordan's death on Christmas night.
Police, who did not identify Jordan by name, said the victim was thought to have accidentally discharged a gun and shot himself around 9:38 p.m. Friday in the 1100 block of Avenue B.
On Sunday, the Tarrant County medical examiner identified Tycoreous Jordan as victim in the shooting. He was pronounced dead at Medical City Denton.
His cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound of the abdomen, according to the medical examiner's office.
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The circumstances around the incident have not been disclosed, and police said that a full investigation would still take place.
Coaches, friends and teammates mourned Saturday after learning of Jordan’s death.
“You know, Ty was just such a loving kid. He was a kid that just opened his heart out to people,” former West Mesquite High School head football coach Jeff Neill said.
Neill was the head coach when Jordan was a standout player – both on and off the field.
“He had an infectious smile. I mean, he just came into a room and lit it up and made us all feel better,” Neill said.
Jordan, a running back at Utah, had recently been named 2020 AP Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year, and Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and All-Pac-12 second team by the league, according to the university.
“The good Lord touched on with and gave him an enormous amount of talent and It was something that you know he didn't take for granted. It was something that he worked hard at every day,” Neill said
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.
In written statements Saturday, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and Athletics Director Mark Harlan offered condolences and expressed their sadness at learning of Jordan's death.
Whittingham said Jordan left "an indelible mark on each of us."
"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," Whittingham said. "Ty's personality and smile were infectious and he made a huge impact on our program in the short time he was with us. ... 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."
Harlan said the priority was supporting Jordan's family and those in the football program "who are so deeply hurting right now."
"We are deeply saddened and shocked to learn of Ty Jordan's passing early this morning and our thoughts and prayers are with those who loved him dearly, including the young men in our football program," Harlan said. "Coach Whittingham and I are working closely to provide support and resources for our Utah Football family in this extremely difficult time."
Jordan was a highly touted recruit out of high school. 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 allowing players who had been in strict COVID-19 protocols for months to begin their off-seasons.
In November 2019, as Jordan's mother battled stage 4 lung cancer, a photo went viral that showed him and a friend from the North Texas High team after a game. They were kneeled in prayer for her.
According to a post on Jordan's Twitter account, Tiffany Jordan died in August.
“Even with what was going on with his mom and the situation with her having cancer and him really watching her pass away,” Neill said. “He still came in on a daily basis and worked hard and had a great attitude and just made the most of every day.”
As friends and teammates mourn Jordan’s death, Neill said the way he lived his life is a lesson for everyone.
“To let the rest of us know that you know what, no matter what happens in your life on a daily basis that, you know, you're still going to get up and you're going to fight through it and you're going to work hard and you're gonna let it be an inspiration,” Neill said.