The year was 2000 and a highly touted quarterback from northern Kentucky was named starter ahead of incumbent QB Dusty Bonner. Jared Lorenzen came to the University of Kentucky from Highlands where he led the Bluebirds to a perfect 15-0 season winning a state championship.
In his high school career Lorenzen helped lead the Bluebirds to the 1998 State Championship putting up video game numbers on the field. He passed for 3392 yards, rushed for another 904 yards and accounted for 60 touchdowns (45 passing 15 Rushing). He was named Mr. Football. Not only a star on the gridiron he helped the basketball team to three straight Sweet Sixteen appearances including a runner-up finish. As a senior he averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Football is where Jared would make his mark and after red shirting his freshman season he would start all 11 games passing for 3687 yards and 19 touchdowns. In his four seasons for the big blue he would play for three different head coaches. Hal Mumme would leave the program after his first season amid scandal and Guy Morriss left Kentucky to take over Baylor. He finished his career under Rich Brooks. 2002 would be Lorenzen’s best season as a Wildcat. He passed for 2267 yards with 24 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions. He would be named 2nd team All Sec. Kentucky finished 7-5 on the season but due to violations committed by former Head Coach Hal Mumme staff they did not qualify for a bowl.
Lorenzen finished his UK career as one of the greatest to play quarterback, when he left he held three records. He still remains the all time leader in passing yards with 10,354. He is also the leader in total offense with 10,637 yards and total touchdowns with 90. He scored 20 plus touchdowns three times in his career, 24 in 2000, 24 in 2002, and 21 in 2001. He held the all time passing touchdown record with 78 until 2007 when Andre Woodson finished with 79. He still holds the record for most passing yard in a game when he passed for 528 against Georgia.
Not only a legend for Kentucky Lorenzen ranks among the best to ever play in the SEC. He ranks 8th all time in passing yards ahead of such legends as Eli Manning, Rex Grossman, and Tim Tebow. He is 5th all time in completions with 862, ranks 9th in passing TDS with 89. His 10,637 total yards of offense is 9th best in league history.
Even with the numbers he put up in his Kentucky career he went undrafted during the NFL Draft. He signed with the New York Giants and he earned a Super Bowl Ring in 2007 when the Giants upset the undefeated New England Patriots 17-14. He would leave the NFL and go back home and coach for Highlands for a season but football was still in his blood.
2011 he became general manager and quarterback for the Northern Kentucky River Monsters of the Ultimate Indoor football league. He was named MVP of the league in 2011. In 2013 he broke his tibia and retired from professional football.
It was no secret that Jared struggled with his weight during much of his life. He had nicknames such as the hefty lefty, The Pillsbury Throwboy, and others. On July 28, 2017, Lorenzen launched “The Jared Lorenzen Project”, where he chronicled online his attempts at battling his obesity, weighing over 500 pounds, By April 2018, Lorenzen had lost over 100 pounds. On July 28th Lorenzen was admitted to the hospital with an infection as well as kidney and heart issues.
On July 3rd Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio,where Jared helped cover the Wildcats, released a statement from the Lorenzen family that read “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Jared today, July 3, 2019. Again, we appreciate all of the warm wishes and prayers, but as a family, we would request your respect and privacy. We will offer arrangement information in the coming days. Please keep Jared’s family and especially his children in your thoughts and prayers.”
Tributes have poured in from across the state and country for Jared. Eli Manning released this “We competed against each other in college and came to the Giants together in 2004. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will always remember his competitive spirit and his good nature. Jared has left us all way too soon.” . Matt Jones had this to say on Twitter of his colleague and friend, “Jared Lorenzen was one of the finest people I have known….a better person than a player. He was a huge part of our KSR family and an even larger part of the BBM family. My heart is broken for his family and friends. God Bless the soul of our amazing friend” Tom Coughlin who coached Lorenzen with the Giants had this say “I’m shocked to learn of Jared’s passing. Jared had a fun-loving, yet serious attitude. He was a good athlete, he had touch and versatility, and he was serious about trying to get his weight under control… Jared got along well with his teammates, and he contributed a lot in his hometown. He worked with young kids in teaching them the game of football. My thoughts are with Jared’s family and the Giants family. It’s sad to lose a kid who tried so hard to play again.”
The family has not released any information on his services yet.