Utah will honor two fallen players with a special helmet design this season.
The program lost running back Ty Jordan on Christmas Day of 2020, and cornerback Aaron Lowe on Sept. 26, 2021, both to shootings. Lowe was 21, and Jordan was 19.
Lowe and Jordan were teammates at West Mesquite High School, east of Dallas, and that friendship led to Lowe being named the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship last August.
"Ty made everyone around him better," Lowe said, who switched his number from No. 2 to 22 to honor Jordan. "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."
Lowe was dead less than a month later.
"We are devastated to hear about the passing of Aaron Lowe," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said at the time. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Aaron's family and friends, along with the other individual who was harmed in this tragic incident. Aaron was a great teammate, friend, brother and son and was loved by anyone who crossed paths with him. He will be deeply missed."
The team dedicated their season to Jordan and Lowe, a year that produced the program's first Pac-12 championship and Rose Bowl berth.
Following the unspeakable lows of losing two teammates with the unprecedented high of winning a breakthrough conference championship does not erase the loss of Jordan and Lowe. Rather, it deepens the sorrow that those two beloved teammates and friends weren't present to share in the joy.
The 2021 season has now come and gone, but the program is not leaving Jordan and Lowe in the past. On the contrary.
The program has started a new tradition of wearing hand-painted alternate helmets for at least one game each season. The 2021 season saw the Utes wear helmets painted to honor the USS Salt Lake City, the battleship that saw the most combat engagements of the entire US Navy during World War II.
This fall, Utah will take the field wearing hand-painted helmets displaying visages of Jordan and Lowe.
A program spokesperson confirmed to FootballScoop this helmet design will see the field this season, though what game(s) are to be determined.