Small things can make a big difference in recruiting.
Still, I can’t recall a graduate assistant coach playing a bigger role in a player’s signing than what happened with Cincinnati tight end Josh Kattus, a three-star prospect, picked Kentucky.
Former British tight end CJ Conrad – he had 80 catches for 1,015 years and 12 scores (the second most ever by a British tight end) in 42 starts – was not selected in the NFL Draft in 2019. He signed twice with the New York Giants but was waived both times. He joined the UK coaching staff in July 2020.
Once Kattus received his scholarship offer in the UK, he kept in touch with Conrad, also from Ohio.
“Hearing him talk about (tight ends) coach (Vince) Marrow and how much he loved playing for him was great. He said, ‘Trust me, you’re going to enjoy it here. He’ll treat you well. He knows what he does and tight ends is a brotherhood. So CJ was a big influence on me,” Kattus said.
Another big influence was British sophomore defensive back Carrington Valentine, who played in Moeller High School as Kattus.
“We’re pretty cool friends. He talked to me several times about coming to BBN. He definitely helped me with my recruiting,” Kattus said. “He was perhaps the most helpful in finding me.
“I played with him when I was in my second year when he was a senior. The coaches told me he was going to play a lot and he was going to be a great player at the corner.
Kattus is Kentucky’s only tight commitment in the 2022 recruiting class. He liked what he saw of the UK spring training movie and another former Moeller player, tight end Brenden Bates, said the new British offense under Liam Coen will feature much more tight ends.
Kattus has spoken to Coen and likes what he’s heard and seen about the former Los Angeles Rams assistant coach.
“I’m thrilled with what he’s going to bring to Kentucky. I think Kentucky football fans are going to really love him and his offense,” Kattus said.
“He’s a great guy. He told me what he liked about me.
Kattus’ father, Eric, was a tight end at Michigan in the mid-1980s and he was drafted and played in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I leaned on my dad for guidance with my high school coach,” Kattus said. “My dad was heavily recruited during his high school career. He gave me some pointers along the way and basically told me to go somewhere where you fit in and know your coach will be there for a long time. I know the British coaches will be there for me.
His high school coach, Mark Elder, is the former head coach of Eastern Kentucky University and served as an assistant coach at Tennessee, Cincinnati and Central Michigan. Kattus also “leaned” on him for recruiting advice.
“He has a lot of connections,” Kattus said.
Kattus had 23 catches for 288 yards and four touchdowns in eight games last season. However, it’s not just about catching passes.
“When I get my hands on people, I finish the block,” Kattus said when asked what he does best. “It’s something big that they really want you to be able to do in the SEC. You have to be able to block. A lot of guys can go down roads and catch, but if you put your hand down and also block, you have great chance of having a long career. My dad made sure I understood that a long time ago.
Article by Larry Vaught