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Sayre QB Cole Pennington follows in father’s footsteps, commits to Marshall 
After a June 8 visit to the Marshall Thundering Herd football program, Sayre School quarterback Cole Pennington, right, committed to Marshall on June 30. Cole will be bringing a legacy with him as his father, Chad, is considered one of the best players in Herd program history. (Courtesy: @c_pennington10/Twitter)

Sayre QB Cole Pennington follows in father’s footsteps, commits to Marshall 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (BVM) — It doesn’t take a whole lot of recollection for Marshall football fans to remember the escapades of former Thundering Herd quarterback Chad Pennington. The signal-caller is arguably the best quarterback in the history of the program, still holding the career passing yardage mark while also being second in attempts, completions, completion percentage, touchdown passes, passing yards per game and passing efficiency in a career. Perhaps best known for his 1999 season in which he led the Herd to a perfect 13-0 record and No. 10 national ranking, Pennington would be named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, win the Sammy Baugh Award as the nation’s top passer and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy before being selected in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New York Jets and enjoying an 11-year NFL career. Now, it seems that history may repeat itself in Huntington, W.Va.

On June 30, Sayre School quarterback Cole Pennington, Chad’s son who played under the former NFL QB at Sayre, announced his commitment to his dad’s alma mater at Marshall. Cole’s commitment marks the No. 16 Class of 2022 commit for Marshall head coach Charles Huff and the No. 3 quarterback in the class joining three-star Centerville quarterback Chase Harrison and three-star Westside quarterback Peter Zamora.

“Throughout the recruiting process, I have met some amazing people while visiting some great universities. To be a college student-athlete has always been a dream of mine,” Cole wrote on his page. “Thank you Coach Huff, Coach Cramsey, and the rest of the Marshall Football Staff for giving me this opportunity to say I’m 100% committed to Marshall University!!! Go Herd!!”

Though it may not be surprising on paper, given the strong familial ties to the university and the program, Cole’s commitment to the Herd was anything but a slam dunk. Originally, Cole received a scholarship offer from the previous staff at Marshall under Doc Holliday, but when the coach’s contract was not renewed following the season, the offer was deemed in-flux as the new staff would have to re-offer the quarterback. Fortunately for Cole, the Herd would do just that as Huff and his staff offered the signal-caller a scholarship on Jan. 28, shortly after Huff’s official introduction as head coach. 

In Sayre School’s first varsity season in 44 years, the father-son duo of Chad and Cole Pennington led the Spartans to an 8-1 record. (Courtesy: @c_pennington10/Twitter)

As a prospect, Cole’s name carries a lot of prestige but prior to the 2020 season there was not much hype surrounding the quarterback due to his lack of on-field opportunities. This past season marked the new beginning of the Sayre School varsity football program, which was previously defunct since 1976, with Cole’s father Chad leading the charge as the Director of Football and head coach. In his lone season under his father, Cole was electric as he led the team to an 8-1 record despite the program’s lack of experience. Though he had five total Division I offers, including from Akron, Ball State, Eastern Kentucky and University of Tennessee-Martin, Cole decided to follow the same path as his father.

For Marshall, they not only receive a player connected to their history, but a great quarterback. According to 247Sports, Cole is a three-star prospect and the No. 67 quarterback in the Class of 2022, making him the highest-rated signal-caller in Marshall’s 2022 recruiting class.

With another Pennington in the fold, Thundering Herd fans hope that lightning will strike twice for the program. If Cole can produce anywhere close to the level that his father did during his time in Huntington, good things will be on the horizon for Marshall football.

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