It was fitting that the city of Lexington was caught in a downpour last Wednesday when I picked my phone up, saw the Twitter notification, and found out Jared Lorenzen had passed. My Kentucky fandom is as old as I am, born and raised less than two hours from Lexington, Kentucky Wildcats football and basketball have defined my life. However, my youngest football memory, the 2007 upset of #1 LSU, is three years after the Hefty Lefty had left Kentucky.
However, I knew who Lorenzen was. He was a larger than life character, both in his physical stature and in his personality. Countless pregame talk shows, podcasts, and other media introduced me to the Wildcat legend. I knew him as a familiar voice, almost like a family member, who visited via 84.0AM WHAS on Saturday afternoons as my family settled into the couch, drove in the car to a sports bar, or traveled to grandma’s to watch the game.
Jared Lorenzen was a personality that brought joy to thousands across the Bluegrass state. He lived the dream every Kentucky kid grows up dreaming of. A dual-sport phenom in football and basketball at Highlands High School, Kentucky Wildcats QB, Super Bowl Champion . . . if you grew up a Kentucky Wildcats fan, you dreamed of living the life Jared did. Reading the news last week to a backdrop of hard rain and thunder, I could feel the weight of Big Blue Nation. In my Lexington apartment, it felt as though the city deflated. Personally, I felt as though I had lost a lifelong friend. I also reflected on his children and while shedding a few tears for #22, I shed a few for them as well. Losing my father prematurely is something that has altered my own life dramatically, but I know BBN is going to support them through this tough time, and for the rest of their lives.
I have no doubt in my mind that Lorenzen’s legend will only continue to grow. There has never been, and never will be another athlete that looked the way he did, moved the way he did, and won the way he did. As Big Blue Nation heals with the early passing of one of its most beloved legends, Jared leaves us with one last lesson. The small blurb of a Twitter bio he had reads simply, “I’m always gonna have fun and laugh.” This is what I will remember the most about 22.
Jared will be laid to rest today July 10, 2019. The online Kentucky Wildcats based clothing line, Throwboy Tees will be donating all of their proceeds for the month of July to a fund that will support Lorenzen’s family. Kentucky fansite, KSR will also be setting up a fundraiser that kicks off July 11th. That info can be found here.