Jen Smith on UK Football

Unusual injury sidelined Kentucky freshman tight end for most of season

Kentucky coaches like what they’re seeing from a big, productive tight end group that includes veterans like C.J. Conrad and Justin Rigg as well as newcomers Keaton Upshaw and Brenden Bates.
Kentucky coaches like what they’re seeing from a big, productive tight end group that includes veterans like C.J. Conrad and Justin Rigg as well as newcomers Keaton Upshaw and Brenden Bates.

An unfortunate and unusual injury while playing on special teams ended Justin Rigg’s true freshman season early, a Kentucky team spokesman confirmed on Friday night.

The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end from Springboro, Ohio, suffered kidney lacerations while playing on special teams in the second game of the season and was forced to sit the rest of the way. UK likely will seek a medical redshirt for Rigg, a three-star recruit.

Rigg was cleared to start running two weeks ago and will be back in some limited drills as the Cats prepare for the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 31. Doctors expect the freshman to be back to full speed by the start of spring practices.

He could’ve been a key contributor this season if not for the injury, tight ends coach Vince Marrow said before the Louisville game.

“C.J. (Conrad) and Greg (Hart) have been banged up this season,” Marrow said. “He would’ve been playing a lot. He’s going to be a guy who is going to play a lot next year. Big guy that can run and block. He’s going to be a good one.”

Rigg is among several redshirt players that offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said he’s excited to see play next season.

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