By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has had to overcome not only playing in an offense that didn’t really featured him in the passing game to a series of injuries to having a heart ailment discovered at the NFL Combine to put himself in position to be picked in the NFL Draft this week.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops knows what an emotional journey it has been for the tight end from Ohio.
“That was very difficult and we have had great conversations with him and his dad. At the time, he didn’t know what to do because he was done with school so he just came in and hung out with us and basically was a coach and was here early and watching film and doing everything he could do to be around it,” Stoops said. “He was spending time with us off the field.
“You want to talk about an unbelievable human being and a grown man and a great person to be around. He persevered through the foot injury then he came back and had the shoulder problem and got those fixed and then that situation that happened with the heart.”
Conrad didn’t get to work out at the NFL combine but eventually got cleared to where he was able to work out for NFL scouts at UK. He’s projected as a mid-round draft pick.
“It was an emotional time for him and his family. I know his parents were very emotional as you can imagine because they have seen the hard work that he has put in for so long and I am really glad that things have worked out,” Stoops said.
Then Stoops made it clear just how much confidence he has in his former tight end.
“I feel really confident in his medical condition right now he is good to go and think he is going to be a great pro,” the Kentucky coach said Tuesday. “I don’t know when he is going to get drafted or how high or any of that, but I have a lot of confidence he will play a long time in the NFL.”