Former Mayfield quarterback remembers UK teammate

AP file photo

Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen looks downfield for a receiver during the first half of the team's game against UTEP in Lexington in 2002. Lorenzen, a husky left-handed quarterback who set multiple Kentucky passing and offensive records before backing up Eli Manning on the New York Giants' Super Bowl-winning 2007 team, died at age 38.

Being kin to the Lancaster family, Trey Barclay said he grew up with some kind of racket in his hand. So playing tennis, ping pong or any other similar sport, he felt he was pretty proficient in that realm, even against a stout quarterback at the University of Kentucky.

"He was the one guy I could not beat consistently in racquetball," Barclay recalled Thursday of his former UK teammate, Jared Lorenzen.

At 6-foot-4 and then around 275 pounds, Lorenzen's size masked his natural athleticism to those who might have scoffed at someone that big playing a skill position like quarterback. But the Ft. Thomas Highlands High School product was graceful and nimble on the gridiron, as well as the basketball court, baseball diamond or wherever else he chose to play.

That included the racquetball court.

Barclay, a former Mayfield High School quarterback and multi-sport athlete, took time to remember Lorenzen, who died this week. He was 38. Lorenzen was a record-setting quarterback at UK and a member of the university's athletic hall of fame. A four-year starter for the Wildcats, Lorenzen was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football.

He also played professionally for the New York Giants, winning a championship ring as a backup to Eli Manning in Super Bowl XLII.

Lorenzen had redshirted the 1999 season when the Wildcats played in the Music City Bowl with then-quarterback Dusty Bonner. The 2000 season was Lorenzen's first as Kentucky's starter.

"My first year there was Jared's first year to start," Barclay explained. "I saw all four years of his career." Playing under coaches Hal Mumme, Guy Morriss and Rich Brooks, Lorenzen's career statistics featured 862 completions in 1,514 pass attempts for 10,354 yards and 78 touchdowns, according to Kentucky's sports information department.

Out of the pocket, he also ran for 12 touchdowns. For his college career, he had broken six NCAA records, four Southeastern Conference records and 11 UK records.

Barclay said the first thing that comes to mind reflecting on the "Hefty Lefty," as Lorenzen was infamously known, was his personality and demeanor with others.

"As a teammate, he could get along with anyone, managers to trainers to star receivers," he said. "He was a guy anyone could go talk with and ask questions, and he could always put a smile on your face.

"No matter what he would do, he had that smile," Barclay added. "We spent a lot of time off the field, in the offseason playing basketball, racquetball or we'd go visiting children in hospitals. I never saw him turn down an autograph or take a picture. He took time for people."

But Lorenzen was all business when it was time to play. "Once it was game time, he flipped that switch," Barclay said. "He was a hard-nosed competitor; very fiery during competitive times. He was always trying to get the crowd up, cheer the O-Line on, cheer the defense on."

When Barclay learned of Lorenzen's death, he was stunned along with the rest of Kentucky fans.

"It really hits home that someone like that can pass and someone who was a big part of Big Blue Nation," Barclay, who is six months younger than Lorenzen, said. "It hits hard. My thoughts go out to his family."

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