At Purdue, a new position for former Hawkeye Tyrone Tracy Jr.

Purdue running back Tyrone Tracy Jr. (3) celebrates after a touchdown against Wisconsin during the second half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind., Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Tyrone Tracy Jr. wasn’t having it. Wasn’t actually listening.

When he was a junior at Decatur Central highschool in Indianapolis, he bumped into Lamar Conard as Tracy Jr. was about to undergo an offseason exercise on the college.

Conard was an assistant coach at Illinois State on the time. Tracy already had dedicated to the College of Iowa.

“He was telling me ‘Man, you’re going to be a operating again. You’re going to be a operating again,’” Tracy mentioned in a preseason interview. “I used to be like ‘Nah, I’m a receiver, I’m already going to Iowa.’

“I sort of simply blew him off. He was from a decrease college, no disrespect to decrease faculties. I used to be already dedicated to Iowa, so I wasn’t giving him my full consideration.”

Humorous how Conard turned out to be extremely clairvoyant.

After a stint at Miami (Ohio), the place he coached each of Tracy’s brothers (Kenny and Javon), Conard got here again to Purdue, his alma mater, to be operating backs coach this season. Not so coincidentally, Tracy was switched from receiver to operating again as a sixth-year senior.

He’s coming off a profession recreation wherein he carried the soccer 21 instances for 112 yards and a landing in a win final week towards Illinois. The earlier week towards Wisconsin, Tracy had eight carries for 84 yards and a TD.

Iowa and Purdue play Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. It’s a 2:33 p.m. (CT) kickoff (Peacock).

“Lots of people don’t perceive that I’ve been enjoying operating again ever since I used to be in little league. In case you watch my highschool tape, it was operating again stuff with very minimal receiver,” Tracy mentioned. “(Conard) coming right here was a blessing from God. I wanted any person who truly knew me, as a result of I’m new on the place. That creates a distinct kind of bond once I’m again there on the operating again place.

“God prepared he finally ends up right here. It’s God, I’m not going to mislead you. It’s one thing that you simply actually can’t put down on paper. You couldn’t write it higher.”

Tracy performed 4 years at Iowa at huge receiver, transferring to Purdue final season. It was one other former Hawkeye, Charlie Jones, who made a big impact for the Boilermakers, with Tracy catching 28 passes for 198 yards and speeding for 138 yards on jet sweeps and issues.

This place change has allowed Tracy to get the ball in a number of methods. He has eight receptions this season and leads Purdue with 288 yards and 5 touchdowns speeding.

“I’ve identified Tyrone since he was in highschool,” Conard mentioned. “I coached each of his brothers at my earlier location. I at all times thought his largest attribute is that he’s constructed and he runs like a operating again. He has embraced it, so that you carry that receiver talent set that he has, and you set it within the operating again room …

“His soccer IQ is thru the roof, as is his work ethic. You (add that up) and it brings range. He can do all the things on the soccer discipline that you really want, proper? Within the backfield, cut up him out. It additionally relieves the strain (for the opposite operating backs).”

Tracy additionally has been Purdue’s main kickoff return man, operating one again 98 yards for a landing within the crew’s season opener towards Fresno State. Playmakers want the soccer, and Tracy lastly is getting it.

He credit Conard, clearly, in addition to Purdue offensive coordinator Graham Harrell for that.

“I don’t consider the previous. I attempt to go daily, recreation to recreation. Proper now this crew has put me ready the place I’ve alternatives in entrance of me. I’ve to go in and seize the day, seize each alternative,” Tracy mentioned. “Coach G has a artistic thoughts. He is aware of tips on how to get his playmakers the ball in area. No matter they want me to do, I’m going to do to the most effective of my talents.”

“I’m simply joyful for him,” mentioned Iowa linebacker Jay Higgins, a fellow Indianapolis man. “I do know his household, I understand how onerous he has labored. If you end up a competitor on this league, I simply have respect for having to stay it out. I couldn’t think about going to a distinct college and principally ranging from scratch. Then altering positions. I do know he’s going by so much. I’m excited for him. However in terms of Saturday, I’m simply making an attempt to win the sport.”

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