Last year, Utah dedicated its 2021 season to honoring two teammates, Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, who died within a year of one another. That commitment will continue in 2022 with the Utes wearing custom, hand-painted helmets honoring Jordan and Lowe on Oct. 15 against USC. Utah originally revealed the new look during a post-credits scene of its “22 FOREVER” documentary series.
The incredible helmets feature paintings of both Jordan and Lowe by Nebraska-based artist Armando Villarreal, along with the “22 Forever” logo that Utah has used before. There is a clip of Villarreal painting the helmets near the end of the documentary.
Utah previously wore hand-painted helmets and special uniforms during a shocking 38-7 upset of then-No. 3 Oregon last season. The Utes’ uniforms in 2021 paid tribute to the U.S.S. Salt Lake City ship that fought in the Pacific during World War II. Those helmets were all hand-painted by Villarreal, who previously helped paint a throwback Utah helmet in 2019.
Jordan and Lowe were high school teammates from Mesquite, Texas, who passed away in separate incidents within a year. Jordan died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound on Christmas Day in 2020, just days after being named Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. Lowe was killed on Sept. 26, 2021, in a house party shooting in Salt Lake City hours after Utah’s Homecoming win against Washington State. Lowe previously changed his number to No. 22 in honor of Jordan and was the recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship.
After the tragedy, Utah announced the the program would retire the No. 22 and paint a memorial to the players at Rice-Eccles Stadium.