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CJ Conrad’s senior day is one to remember

What a day for CJ Conrad. The BBN has been begging for more from the tight end since basically the moment he arrived on campus, and tonight they finally got it during his final game in Kroger Field.

Against Middle Tennessee State, Conrad had the most looks of his season – four catches for 51 yards. Today’s performance gave Conrad the fourth-highest number of catches throughout his career, behind six catches against Mississippi State in 2015, five against New Mexico State in 2016 and five against Ole Miss in 2017. It was the first time time he surpassed three catches in a game so far this season.

After the game, Mark Stoops said prioritizing getting the ball to Conrad is something “we always do,” but added it was easier to make that happen against Middle Tennessee State than it was against SEC teams.

“Everybody always wants to say [Conrad doesn’t get the ball], but some of our RPO’s are there sometimes and sometimes they’re not. And when we’re playing these SEC teams, they’re not going to give him those. They’re not giving him any freebies,” Stoops said. “There were some good reads today by Terry [Wilson] and there was an effort by us on some to draw the player in and him on a RPO and we had some opportunities there.”

Offensive coordinator Eddie Gran went even farther with his belief in Conrad. According to Gran, today’s game plan included getting the ball to Conrad “eight to ten times.” While that obviously didn’t happen, he was still content with Conrad’s efficiency.

“In the game plan, he certainly did have an opportunity. We felt like in those big sets we had the chance to get him the ball. Going into it… we said, man, he’s got a chance to catch eight to 10 balls,” Gran said. “I don’t know how many he caught… He caught four. A guy catching four like that with that production, you do that all the time. We got a couple of explosives that way too, and that’s when we’re really good.”

All of Conrad’s catches came at critical times for the Wildcats, but none were more important than his 11-yard catch through coverage for a Kentucky touchdown. At first, it looked like a possible interception in the end zone. But Terry Wilson’s throw and CJ Conrad’s hands didn’t let that happen.


After the game, Conrad admitted he was happy his quarterback made the decision he did.

“I put my hand up and luckily he saw me,” Conrad said. “I’m thankful he had the trust in me to throw that because, you know, that’s a dangerous pass.”

“I saw CJ in the back of the end zone so I was like, let me give him a chance to catch it. So I just threw it,” Wilson said of the decision to send it to Conrad. “It was close, it was close. After I saw it go through his hands, I was like ‘yes, thank you. I’m good.’ It was a great catch by him.”

Regardless of what you think of Eddie Gran or how many more times you think Conrad should have been given the ball throughout his career, today’s game was special. After the win, the senior said he had 70 people in the stands rooting for him. He’s seen the rise of Kentucky football, and that’s something he’ll hold onto for the rest of his life.

Our goal as a group, we seniors, was to change this program. We’ve still got some games left but we feel like we’re really heading in that direction and that just means the world to me,” Conrad said. “I just try to go out there and give everything I have to this team.”

He’s certainly done just that. CJ Conrad, thanks for everything.


Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

17 Comments for CJ Conrad’s senior day is one to remember

  1. N-UR-i
    8:07 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    Class act. One of a few very special players this year.

  2. cats646
    8:27 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    Thank you CJ!! Sorry Gran didn’t target you more. No matter what he says about the RPO, you should’ve got the ball more.

  3. JASUN74
    8:29 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    SEC or not he should have been targeted 10 times per game, his whole career. I greatly appreciate CJ Conrad for coming to UK, and being part of this special class. It truly is a shame that he hasn’t been utilized more , and it may or may not be the difference in a couple more wins. Thank you CJ and good luck in your future.

    8:34 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    The sad thing is, Stoops and Gran probably really believe that load of horse s*** he fed the media. I guess they think the SEC is tougher than the NFL, since so many NFL teams have regular success hitting their TEs in the RPO, and other schemes as well.

  5. maximumscott
    8:36 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    Toyal BS from Gran and Stoops. SEC teams also stacked the box and made it difficult to run but didnt stop them from constantly running it when it wasnt working…

  6. michaelb
    8:56 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    Anything they say at this point is just laughable . They’re not even being sincere to the media or the fans or each other now. Lol a tight end like that is always open even when it doesn’t look like it. Throw it high to him for a possession

    • Miller45
      10:16 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

      And he never got a bad attitude (that I saw)

  7. GregoryEarl
    9:20 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    It’s just hardheaded ridiculous that Stoops/Gran has not used CJ more this season than they have. IMO it’s part of the reason we are not 10 and 1 right now. Yeah, I answered “Frustrated” in the poll on Matt Jones’s show.

      11:22 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

      I never did see the poll? I wanted to vote but couldn’t find it. Is it still out there somewhere? As far as I am concerned if we could if hit the college average in points which was 28.5 going into UT week we would be 9-1. Plus you could argue if we out up 27-30 vs UGA we are talking 4-6 scoring drives and we would of been in the UGA game. Stoops offensive Scheme boggles my mind and sometimes it’s insanity!

  8. bigbluejon
    11:06 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    CJ was wrong though…..he had thousands of people rooting for him in the stands

    11:13 pm November 17, 2018 Permalink

    Stoops Lieing right through his teeth! If your prioritizing to give him ball then why is he only getting 2-3 targets a game. Stoops can recruit but just can’t coach. I bet 60% of power 5 coaches could of had this team at worst 10-1 right now

  10. GregoryEarl
    1:17 am November 18, 2018 Permalink

    As amazing as it seems what I’m saying it speaks volumes to what Kentucky Football has evolved to .

  11. Dowser
    12:00 pm November 18, 2018 Permalink

    CJ is a great blocker, good size with trustworthy hands. The thing I believe could hurt him in the draft is his inability to break tackles. He gets tackled one on one almost always. Anyone else notice that?

      2:37 pm November 18, 2018 Permalink

      That’s because they only target him in short-yardage plays, where it’s already congested. If they used him more in post, trips-corner option, trips-slot….plays designed for 1st downs + .

    • Dowser
      10:04 pm November 18, 2018 Permalink

      Well… I don’t know what that has to do with him not breaking a solo tackle. Watch. And most of the time the defender is quite a bit smaller

  12. jaws2
    3:26 pm November 18, 2018 Permalink

    Imagine what he could’ve achieved with an actual OFFENSIVE coordinator! Playing not to lose just minimized his career. It’s a damn shame.