Cummings moves to tight end for Cats

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 2021

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Kentucky has moved 6-3, 228-pound Izayah Cummings from receiver to tight end to help offset the season-ending injury to Brenden Bates.

About 15 years ago then offensive coordinator Joker Phillips decided to move Jacob Tamme from receiver to tight end at the end of his redshirt freshman season. Tamme ended his UK career with 133 catches for 1,417 yards and went on to play nine years in the NFL.

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Cummings volunteered to make the move and looked “surprisingly natural” at the new position.

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“He has that understanding and he fits in better than I thought he would,”

Stoops said. “That’s been really good to see.

“In this system, we’re a little different than we were a year ago as far as the run game and utilizing the tight ends, which is good. Without getting into too much detail, you don’t all the time need to be that 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end blocking with the outside zone and not having to dig out these SEC defensive linemen all day long.

“It’s a little different and you could utilize someone as athletic as (Cummings) is.”

Kentucky teammate Wan’Dale Robinson said Cummings reminds him of Florida All-American Kyle Pitts, the No. 4 pick in the NFL Draft.

“Izayah looks really, really good out here,” said Robinson.

Stoops could not stop praising Cummings after UK’s first scrimmage, something that is rare for the coach during the preseason.

“Here’s a young man that always has a great attitude, works, does everything. He’s just so natural — it’s so friendly to the quarterbacks, somebody that’s that athletic with that kind of catch radius and is so smooth,” Stoops said. “Those big guys sometimes are stiffer than you think. You have a big guy that’s that athletic, it makes a big difference.”