New York Jets fans had the rare opportunity to enjoy stable and consistent quarterback play when Chad Pennington took the reins. His son, Cole, can only hope to do the same when he eventually gets his own opportunity.
If it feels like just yesterday that Pennington won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2008, let his son’s college recruitment show just how much time has passed.
Cole Pennington is a Class of 2022 quarterback prospect
It is time to start familiarizing yourself with Cole Pennington, especially if you’re a college football fan.
As of June 2021, 247 Sports listed Pennington as a 3-star prospect. The outlet considers him the nation’s 67th-best quarterback prospect in the Class of 2022 and a top-15 recruit in the state of Kentucky. Although official on-field statistics were not readily available at publication, he held three college offers as of June 2021.
Pennington plays at Sayre School in Lexington, Kentucky. His father, Chad, has been the school’s head football coach since 2018.
His father, Chad, had a successful career with the Jets and Dolphins
There was a time in the mid-2000s where Chad Pennington was among the NFL’s more underrated quarterbacks, just so long as he was healthy.
The 18th overall pick in 2000, Pennington — selected 181 picks before the New England Patriots selected Tom Brady — completed 66% of his passes for 17,823 yards, 102 touchdowns, and 64 interceptions in 89 games. Despite only starting 16 games in a season once with the Jets, he led them to three playoff appearances and even reached the AFC divisional round twice.
The former first-round pick completed 61.1% of his passes in the postseason for 1,418 yards, eight touchdowns, and eight interceptions in six career playoff starts.
However, constant injuries derailed Pennington’s career, and he ended two of his final four seasons on the injured reserve list. The exception came in 2008 when he went 11-5 and led the Miami Dolphins to the postseason a year after they went 1-15.
Still, playing parts of 11 NFL seasons provided a significant boost to Pennington’s wallet. According to Spotrac, he earned over $50 million in the NFL.
Which programs are showing interest in Cole Pennington?
The 2022 NFL season will be over a decade since Chad Pennington played his final snap in the league. That same year, Cole will likely be starting his college football career.
As of June 2021, three schools — including Marshall, Chad’s alma mater — had offered the young quarterback. Eastern Kentucky and UT Martin, both FCS programs, had also offered him a scholarship.
It is definitely worth monitoring Pennington’s college recruitment and seeing which programs get in the mix. Marshall hired Charles Huff, a Nick Saban disciple, after the 2020 season. Former Florida State and West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett also joined the Herd as its wide receivers coach ahead of the 2021 campaign.
If history repeats and Pennington finds himself at Marshall, the Herd could become an intriguing storyline if or when he becomes the starting quarterback. However, he still has plenty of time to receive further offers and decide where he wants to play collegiately.
All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.