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Is CJ Conrad destined for Jacob Tamme-esque breakout year?

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Momentum around UK football right now is at an all-time high, with many fans and media analysts expecting the Wildcats to win anywhere from seven to nine games next season. Kentucky returns the majority of starters next year, there is (finally) some consistency from the offensive coordinator position, depth continues to grow stronger, etc.

One of the main reasons for excitement? The expected growth of UK junior tight end CJ Conrad.

If you ask TeamSpeedKills.com of SB Nation, Conrad is due for a Jacob Tamme-esque breakout year for the Wildcats this season.

As you all well know, one of the most reliable pass-catchers in recent Kentucky football memory comes from 6’3 tight end and Danville, KY native Jacob Tamme. During the Rich Brooks era, Tamme became a go-to target for Andre Woodson, and he was instrumental in the massive bowl runs in both 2006 and 2007.

When you dive into the numbers, both Tamme and Conrad’s freshman and sophomore seasons at Kentucky were eerily similar.

In his first year at UK, Conrad caught 15 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, showing off hints of his four-star potential he came in with. Conrad followed it up with 19 receptions, 262 yards, and four touchdowns in his sophomore campaign. (Who knows what kind of numbers Conrad could have put up last season if he and Stephen Johnson connected on some of the throws that sailed over the tight end’s head throughout the year.)

You can see Tamme’s numbers in the graphic below:

ESPN

Tamme certainly had more receptions in his sophomore year, but the yardage is nearly identical. In the next two seasons, his numbers spiked.

Check out TeamSpeedKills’ analysis on the comparison of both Kentucky tight ends:

Remember Jacob Tamme? The standout tight end was one of Kentucky’s best receivers in the mid 2000s, leading to his placement on the First Team All-SEC lists in both his junior and senior years. Ultimately, he would be taken by the Colts in the 4th round of the NFL Draft, spending 3 years catching passes from Peyton Manning–fellow SEC athlete and one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

Tamme was a star on some of Kentucky’s most exciting teams, including the 2007 one that rose all the way to No. 8 in the rankings after beating No. 1 LSU in triple overtime at Commonwealth Stadium Kroger Field. That year was certainly a strange one at the University of Kentucky–the football team was consistently better and a bit more popular than the basketball team, a fact that speaks to the quality of the players Rich Brooks had brought to the school.

Conrad certainly hasn’t had a Tamme-like season yet. And honestly, he might not. After all, Tamme’s numbers were phenomenal, and it’s baffling that he was never a Mackey Award finalist. He was an extremely talented player, the likes of which the Wildcats might never see again.

Still, if there’s anyone since then who can replicate the success and stats that Tamme put up, it’s Conrad. Next season will mark one decade since Tamme’s senior season, and it’ll also see us enter the final half of C.J. Conrad’s time at Kentucky. The jump from 2015 to 2016 saw a massive improvement in nearly every facet of Kentucky football, from quarterback to tight end.

Kentucky fans are hoping that the jump from 2016 to 2017 sees an even greater jump for C.J. Conrad, the man who could become the next Jacob Tamme.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

4 Comments for Is CJ Conrad destined for Jacob Tamme-esque breakout year?



  1. KYcats11
    9:34 pm May 31, 2017 Permalink

    No need to cross out commonwealth and put kroger, if you walked in the stadium that day your ticket said COMMONWEALTH STADIUM.



  2. UKfanforlife
    8:45 am June 1, 2017 Permalink

    I do think Conrad has NFL talent. Last season, the QB couldn’t throw an accurate short pass on time so the receivers could catch in stride and make YAC. A huge breakout year depends on the accuracy of the returning QB, not just the ability of the TE. Let’s hope the QB improves his short game.



  3. kjd
    9:31 am June 1, 2017 Permalink

    Conrad is very talented and capable of putting of up some stats. With that said, he won’t match Tamme’s numbers.
    Two reasons: Eddie Gran offense is run oriented. Number of pass attempts just won’t be there. Then, Stephen Johnson has not shown the ability to consistently hit the short and medium routes.
    Unless these factors​ which we saw last season change, then Conrad’s potential will not be fully utilized.



    • foamfinger
      2:27 pm June 1, 2017 Permalink

      I think Gran’s offense will open up a little more to feature throws since he has QBs who have had a year to digest his system. His past stops have had well-balanced, prolific offenses and I’m sure having a good dedicated QB coach (for once in Stoops’ tenure and possibly for once in all the QBs lives) has helped to alleviate those short-mid throw issues of Johnson and anyone else who may have the yips.