Cats, BBN look to honor Lorenzen this upcoming season


Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen carries the ball during the game against Florida on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2003, in Lexington, Kentucky. Florida won the game 24-21. File Photo

Mohammad Ahmad

UK quarterback Terry Wilson, known by some as “Touchdown Terry,” is a name that will be on the minds of Kentucky football fans with a new season looming.

But he isn’t the only quarterback on the minds of the Kentucky faithful.

Former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen’s passing is and will be fresh on the minds of Wildcat fans. Known as “The Hefty Lefty” or “The Pillsbury Throwboy,” Lorenzen died from cardiac and renal issues in July, stunning those who watched or knew him.

With fans, friends and football lovers absorbing the news of Lorenzen’s passing, Wilson hinted at a possible tribute to the “Hefty Lefty.” The day after Lorenzen’s death, Wilson took to Twitter and tweeted, “Rock the deuce deuce for the first game?”, with the “deuce deuce” being Lorenzen’s former Wildcat jersey number, 22.

When asked about the idea of wearing 22, Wilson says he simply felt like “it was a good idea.”

“I looked (Jared) up a lot. I even watched a few games that he played in. I just knew how much he meant to this program,” Wilson said during UK’s media day. “I just felt like I needed to show my appreciation.”

He did say, however, that “wearing 22 is still up in the air,” so there’s no guarantee that he will wear Lorenzen’s number. UK football head coach Mark Stoops echoed Wilson, saying that, while he didn’t know Lorenzen as well as others did, he understood the late quarterback’s impact.

“Terry reached out to me about the idea after (Lorenzen’s death) and my initial thought was, ‘That’s a great idea.’ Just having him possibly wear that jersey in the opener, we’ll talk about that,” Stoops said after Lorenzen’s July 10 visitation. “I talked to Jared’s family and said in some shape or form we will recognize him.”

The October 12th Kentucky football home game against Arkansas has been designated Jared Lorenzen Day. UK Athletics announced that it will “celebrate the life of the Wildcat great and fan favorite in a series of ways to remember the man who wore No. 22.”

Kentucky fans remember Lorenzen with good reason. In his time at UK from 2000 to 2003, the Covington, Kentucky, native and state “Mr. Football” threw for 10,354 yards, 78 touchdowns and 41 interceptions with a 56.9 percent completion percentage. Lorenzen, a two-time Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award semifinalist, currently holds several UK, SEC and NCAA passing records.

Lorenzen signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2004. He backed up Eli Manning for parts of four seasons, winning a Super Bowl ring in the process. After being waived by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008, he spent several years playing indoor football before retiring for good. He was elected to the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.

With one season and a bowl victory under his belt as a Wildcat, Wilson has shown progress but is still far from having matched Lorenzen’s legacy. Nonetheless, if Wilson wears number 22, he could become one step closer to becoming another memorable Wildcat. He recognizes what it means to be a Kentucky fan favorite.

“I just knew that they love Jared a lot and I guess that meant a lot to them that I even mentioned to wear his number,” Wilson said. “It just shows that how the Big Blue Nation is and how they care a lot about their players. Even if you played 10, 15 years ago, they still care about you.”