Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has earned plenty of praise throughout his career. No matter what he does, fans want to see more, and rightfully so. If Conrad catches a pass, there’s a good chance it’s going to be a touchdown.
In four years of football, Conrad has averaged one touchdown every five times he has caught a pass. To put it another way, 20 percent of Conrad’s receptions are touchdowns. That stat was even more incredible last year. Conrad turned every fourth reception into a touchdown.
It’s easy to understand why fans want to see more. That level of production is remarkable. What’s hard to see is how well he performs when he isn’t catching passes. Thanks to Pro Football Focus, an outlet that grades every player in every game, there’s a number assigned to his awesomeness as a blocker. Conrad is Kentucky’s highest-graded returning player. The 82.7 grade in 2017 was ranked 15th among all tight ends.
Conrad’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. The preseason Third Team All-SEC Selection has been named to the John Mackey Award Watch List for the second consecutive season. If Conrad can bounce back after a season-ending injury, he could take home hardware as the nation’s top tight end on December 5.
Up to 255 pounds, Conrad is poised to make enough plays to earn the prestigious honor, but that’s not his goal this season. “My personal expectation this year is to get this team to play in the SEC Championship Game,” Conrad said at SEC Media Days. “That’s something I really want to do and I know it’s something this team wants to do.”