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Like father, like son: Chad Pennington’s son commits to Marshall

6 Sep 1997: Quarterback Chad Pennington #10 of Marshall University calls a play during a game against the Army at the Michie Stadium in West Point, New York. Marshall defeated the Army 35-25.
Robert Laberge /Allsport

Former New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington’s son will follow his dad by playing college football at Marshall.

If the Zach Wilson experiment doesn’t work out, the New York Jets can rest assured that someone who has heard a thing or two about winning in New Jersey will available by the 2026 NFL draft at the latest.

Quarterback Cole Pennington, the son of former Jets thrower Chad Pennington, has committed to his father’s alma mater of Marshall University to become a member of the Thundering Herd. The junior Pennington will partake in his senior season at Sayre School in Lexington, KY before shipping off to Huntington with the Class of 2022.

Chad Pennington was chosen by the Jets with the 18th pick in the 2000 NFL draft and played eight seasons with the team. His serviceable New York career followed a historic tenure with the Thundering Herd alongside Randy Moss, easing their transition from Division I-AA to I-A (now Football Championship Subdivision and Football Bowl Subdivision respectively).

He departed the program as its all-time leading passer and guided the team to an undefeated season in 1999.

Cole, who threw 27 touchdown passes in his junior year of high school, admitted that his knowledge of Marshall football drew him to the program. But he was also pleased that new Herd head coach Charles Huff wasn’t only recruiting him because of his last name.

“One of the things that I wanted to make sure of was that a school was not recruiting me not because of who my Dad was and what he did,” Cole said, per Grant Traylor of The Herald-Dispatch. “Were they recruiting me because of the type of person that I am, the type of player I am? Marshall was super clear that they were recruiting me for me, not Chad Pennington’s son, which I loved.”

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Cole was pleased with the relationship he was able to build with Huff, who takes over the Herd’s top position after 11 years with Doc Holliday at the helm. According to Traylor’s report, Cole also had offers from FBS programs Akron and Ball State.

The elder Pennington took to Twitter to congratulate his son on the big news. Among those offering support were his former Jets teammate Anthony Becht and fellow NFL alum Rich Gannon.

Marshall opens their 2021 season on Sept. 4 at Navy.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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