A former Wildcat who has been a favorite for nearly a decade now, dating all the way back to 2015 when he first threw on that uniform for the Kentucky program, has been hired at a local university as a part of the coaching staff. Walt Wells, the football head coach at Eastern Kentucky University, announced this morning that C.J. Conrad has been hired as as the new tight ends coach for the program.
"I am excited to welcome C.J. and his wife, Katie, into our EKU football program," said Wells. "I had the great fortune to watch C.J. play during my time at Kentucky. He is a highly motivated, intelligent young coach who has played the position and had great success. I am very excited about what he brings to our tight ends room."
C.J. was a student-athlete at the University of Kentucky from 2015-2018, playing in 49 career games along with 42 of those being official starts. He totaled in 80 career catches resulting in 1,015 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. His twelve touchdown catches are the second-most TD receptions by a tight end in UK history, just one behind James Whalen (1997-99).
After Kentucky, C.J. went on to sign to the New York Giants practice squad in 2019. The following year, he became a offensive graduate assistant back under his collegiate coach, Mark Stoops. Since then, he has spent the last three season in Lexington as a graduate assistant and quality control coach for the football program he was once a star in.
"I am so excited for this opportunity at EKU," Conrad said. "I've learned so much during my time at Kentucky. The knowledge I've gained from Coach Stoops, Coach Morrow, and Coach Cohen is invaluable and I'm eager to get to work."
Although the professional career didn't transpire into what he might have hoped for, it's still really nice to see that his passion for the game is still alive and as active as ever as he looks to keep climbing the coaching tree and make a career out of the sport, just in a different way. This step is a big one. One that I'm sure he's had his eye on for quite some time now. Thankfully, he's just 20 minutes down the road and can still keep his connection to the UK program and call ol' Stoops for any advice at any moment as he learn the ropes. It also speaks a lot of Mark that he would give C.J. a foundation to start his coaching career on once he decided to leave the NFL. The blessing of one of the fastest rising coaches in CFB is a big deal, and that's why I always say, if you become a Wildcat you'll have endless career opportunities in this state if you want them. This is just another example. Congratulations to C.J. Conrad.