By LARRY VAUGHT
What’s a fitting tribute for the University of Kentucky to do for former quarterback Jared Lorenzen after his death at age 38 last week?
He was a four-year starter from 2000-2003 for coaches Hal Mumme, Guy Morriss and Rich Brooks. He threw for 10,354 yards, including a school-record 528 yards against Georgia when he was a freshman.
Lorenzen was a fan favorite when he played but an even bigger personality after he left UK. He became an icon in the state — and even nationally.
I’ve seen suggestions for retiring Lorenzen’s No. 22 or having No. 22 on all the flags flying at the top of Kroger Field. Another fan suggested putting a No. 22 patch on each player’s jersey next season to honor Lorenzen, a member of UK’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Or there was the suggestion to put some kind of insignia at each 22-yard line at Kroger Field.
Throwboy Tees has announced that proceeds from every purchase this month will “go directly into a fund for Jared’s family.” Lorenzen had two children, daughter, Taylar, and son, Tayden. Hopefully maybe UK can even sell No. 22 jerseys with the proceeds going to Lorenzen’s children.
Current Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson suggested on social media Friday that he might “rock the deuce deuce” when UK opens the season. He normally wears No. 3 but seeing him in No. 22 would be such an emotional scene for UK fans.
I also saw a suggestion a UK fan Greg Mullins posted on Twitter that hit home with me. He asked UK not to retire No. 22 but instead “give it to someone who plays the game with heart and inspires his teammates” like Lorenzen did.
Somehow I believe that would be the best possible tribute for Lorenzen. I have to think he would prefer seeing No. 22 on a player doing all he could to help Kentucky win like he did instead of having the number retired. Mississippi did this a few years back to honor a player who was paralyzed and could not play again.
Lorenzen’s legacy is secure at Kentucky and he’s not going to be forgotten for a long, long time. Picking one player each year to wear No. 22 would only enhance Lorenzen’s legacy and be a source of pride for the player chosen to wear the jersey.
Certainly there’s no right or wrong way to honor Lorenzen and I have to think UK athletics will do something. Having Wilson wear No. 22 for the first game — or all season — would be popular. What about switching Kash Daniel to No. 22? Or maybe Lynn Bowden?
It’s something to think about because we are all going to be thinking for a long time about how much we miss Jared Lorenzen.