Being an Ohio product and not landing an Ohio State offer can be a major discouragement for some in-state top prep football players, but not so much for recently minted Kentucky commit C.J. Conrad, a tight end out of Lagrange, Ohio.
"I came out here with a clean mind, to represent Kentucky. Ohio State is what it is, but I came out here to compete against some of the best. I didn't really have a motive, I guess," Conrad told SB Nation's Bud Elliott.
Despite not needing any extra personal bulletin board material, Conrad stood out amongst his peers, earning the 2014 Columbus Nike Football Training Camp's wide receivers/tight end MVP award and ultimately an invitation to Nike's exclusive The Opening 2014.
"It means a lot. Some of these tight ends are so fast. They're faster than me, they're quicker than me, but I try to use my strength and my body to get open," he said.
Though Conrad gave credence to the idea that Wildcats head coach Mark Stoops' Ohio ties have a positive benefit to the program's ability to get talent from out of the state, he didn't feel the Wildcats were hanging their hats solely on landing in-state recruiting targets who the Buckeyes don't.
"It's like, you can play early in a system that fits you really well, in the SEC," Conrad said. "The SEC, in my opinion, is the best conference in America."
Before he represents Big Blue Nation in Eugene, Ore. this coming July, following in the footsteps of The Opening 2013 attendee quarterback Drew Barker, Conrad will head to Kentucky's football camp next weekend.