by Daniel Olsen |
2020 has brought a lot of ups and downs but during the year the sports moments we have had brought fans to their feet. From January to March there were crowded stadiums. Then, there was a dark period of no sports from March until June. This left many sports fans to watch re-runs that were aired on several sports channels. The Last Dance became a closely followed documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls. From July until now, the sports slowly started to rise again in the Beehive State.
Real Salt Lake participated in the MLS Restart in July. The Jazz came back and played into the end of August in the Disney Resort bubble in Orlando. College sports returned in the fall after spring sports were cancelled. The MLB and NHL had shortened seasons and the NFL made it through several cancellations due to the spread of the pandemic in multiple locker rooms.
There were many talented freshmen in high school and college as well as rookies in the professional ranks but none have reached the level of one freshman running back on the University of Utah football team. It was announced yesterday that he has tragically passed away. Here are three reasons why Ty Jordan is posthumously our unanimous choice for Newcomer of the Year.
1. His performance on the field:
Before we get to anything else, let us focus on the main reason he is our undisputed choice. If he didn’t feel like he was the best, he wouldn’t want to be recognized as such. In just five games, he rushed for 597 yards and six touchdowns. He also wasn’t too shabby at catching the football as he had the fourth most receiving yards on the team.
Jordan had the fourth most rushing yards in the PAC-12 and the most of any Freshman. He should absolutely be named the PAC-12 Freshman of the Year. He has surpassed every other newcomer in the state, let alone the conference.
How many other first-year athletes are drawing these headlines at any level in the state? The answer is none. Donovan Mitchell was the last one in the professional ranks in Utah to be considered for rookie of the year. Neemias Queta, center for the Utah State Aggies, was awarded Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year two seasons ago. In 2020, no new kid on the block has made noise like Jordan.
He has been recognized by many teammates and coaches for his leadership. It has been a tough year for the Utes all around. Their first two games were cancelled due to pandemic issues within the team. Nearly 11 months after their last game, they finally played a football game and lost to USC. They then lost to the Washington Huskies despite having a three touchdown lead early in the game. Jordan specifically apologized to the coaching staff and resolved to do better.
A lesser player would have sulked or maybe call out his offensive line. Not Jordan. Under his leadership, the Utes won their final three games and he rushed for over 100 yards in every game in the process. He improved his touchdown output from one, to two to three in the final game. This production is great but it is truly his character that made his coaches and teammates believe in him.
He has dealt with adversity:
Again, this is not a pity or lifetime achievement award. Yes, Jordan’s mom passed away earlier this year with lung cancer. Yes, Jordan passed away yesterday. That isn’t the reason we are honoring him. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down in life. How you will be remembered is the number of times you get back up. Jordan could have quit on the season after his mom passed away but he finished with a season that would make her proud. He left a legacy that will not be forgotten by Ute fans and his family. He is a great example to remember. His fight through adversity in his personal life and in the midst of one of the more difficult seasons in program history is why he is our unanimous Newcomer of the Year. When the PAC-12 awards come out, their decision should be unanimous as well.