A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sports community saddened by the loss of former Highlands, UK quarterback Jared Lorenzen

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

When word got out that Jared Lorenzen passed away on Wednesday, John Messmer got calls from family and friends because he was one of Lorenzen’s coaches and teachers at Highlands High School.

“He was very much a competitor,” Messmer said. “He was all about team play and doing whatever he could to put his team in  position to be successful.”

Jared Lorenzen

Lorenzen played on three regional champion basketball teams coached by Messmer. He was also an outstanding high school quarterback who was named Mr. Kentucky Football after leading Highlands to a perfect 15-0 record and the Class 3A state champions in his senior year.

That was just the beginning of Lorenzen’s high-profile football career. He was a record-setting quarterback for the University of Kentucky and back-up quarterback on a New York Giants team that won the Super Bowl. That’s why news of the 38-year-old’s death sparked an explosion of Twitter posts from all around the country.

“Jared was a great teammate and friend,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning posted. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I will always remember his competitive spirit and good nature. Jared has left us all way too soon.”

Lorenzen spent the last six days in a hospital intensive care unit. A statement released by family said he was admitted with kidney and heart issues and an infection.

He had been battling weight problems for years. In a 2017 article, he revealed that his weight had exceeded 500 pounds and he had enlisted the help of a trainer and nutritionist. He began producing YouTube videos about his weight loss project and reportedly dropped 100 pounds during the first year.

“Thirty-eight years old, that’s too young to pass away, that’s for sure,” Messmer said. “It’s just so hard when somebody that young passes.”

At the University of Kentucky, Lorenzen picked up the nickname, “Hefty Lefty,” because he was a 6-foot-4, 285-pound left-handed passer. He got the starting quarterback job as a redshirt freshman and went on to pass for a school record 10,354 yards with the Wildcats.

“We are heartbroken for Jared’s family and friends,” UK football coach Mark Stoops posted on Twitter. “Since I’ve been here, it has been obvious that he was one of the most popular players in school history. He was a proud member of the Kentucky football family and he will be missed by the Big Blue Nation.”

Lorenzen is a member of the UK Hall of Fame and he was selected for induction into the Highlands Hall of Fame this September. A Twitter post by Fort Thomas Schools shows how much he’ll be missed.

“We’re shocked and saddened by the loss of one of our most distinguished alumni,” Highlands athletic director Kevin Nieporte said in the post. “Jared was an incredible talent and better person. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and children, Taylar and Tayden.”

See NKyTribune’s earlier story here.

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