Editor's Note: The original headline/theme of the post was that usually if you know the member of a secondary's name, it's because they got beat or did something bad, so because we'll be young/inexperienced at corner, you'll likely get to hear a lot about these guys. But then it morphed into, wow, we are going to be sick in 2012. So the story doesn't really apply, but I couldn't change it for household related reasons. Nevermind.
One wrinkle to the Confessions post below about the 2000 Liberty Bowl. I did not know many people on our team, but one guy I did know was cornerback Antonio Roundtree. I was at that game with Quinn1979 and a couple other guys, and I remember talking about how I saw he was like the leading tackler in CUSA or at least on our team, something that stood out. So he must be our best defensive player, right? Quinn quickly put me in my place: he makes so many tackles because his guy keeps catching the ball. Roundtree is terrible.
Unfortunately, because of graduation, Steve Kragthorpe, FULLLLLERRRR!, and Darius Ashley's alcohol issues, we are going to have a lot of young guys who will see significant time in live game ball action attempting to prevent the other team from using the forward pass to advance the ball. Let's just say this: by the time we play against Dana Holgorsen's WVU team, you will know whether to just "take the over" on the total points scored that game, or tap whatever equity you have in any land you own and then use those proceeds to REALLY take the over. Because Holgo is a sick individual who shows no mercy:
Yikes. It's not like the cupboard is bare. As Mike discussed in depth earlier, there are some guys coming back who have played time at corner, and obviously Shenard Holton and Hakeem Smith will be there to remind everyone to get lined up right and BACK OF THE HOUSE!. And the group below is arguably the overall most talented incoming group. But as ChronCommentor (Chrommentor? Chrommentator?) BCNice1 shared:
So who will step up? Will any true freshman start at corner? Will any redshirt? And who will become a fan favorite for running back an interception as time expires to win the
UK game BCS national championship a late-night game on PS3's NCAA 2012? Let's find out together....after the jump.
Charles Gaines (#3) - Cornerback
One of the bigger moves of the spring was to move true freshman Charles Gaines (who enrolled in January) from WR to CB. An athlete who wowed the crowds with his hands during the first part of practice, the coaches saw enough in him to try him out as corner. Here are some highlights, and maybe they decided based only on the block he throws around the 1:05 mark that he could play defense:
He looks pretty athletic, although I'm anxious to see a youtube highlight video where guys loaf, drop easy passes, get ran down from behind by offensive lineman, etc. Anyway, Gaines is another Florida native, Miami specifically, and committed early last fall. According to some websites, he had offers from WVU, UCF (!), Marshall and Cinci, and had Florida State and Florida on his potential list. I guess he did play some defense in high school, because according to his official bio:
helped Central win the 6-A state title with a crucial interception and subsequent touchdown return that sparked his team late in the second quarter.
CardsFan922 Prediction: Probably the most likely true freshman to start at corner, unless they move Gerod Holliman (see below) from Safety when he starts practicing in August. Gaines has the talent, size and speed to hang with the first two scheduled cupcakes, which would be a great way to ease him into real game situations in time for the trip to Lexington. Being here since January and making the switch early gives him almost like a half-redshirt year, and our lack of quality depth means it is unlikely he will be able to actually redshirt this year. If he were to do that, and spent another full year learning the position and growing/improving, etc., he would probably be the most hyped defensive redshirt freshman member of the secondary since Rod Council. And we all know how that ended. Seriously, though, except some bumps and missed coverages along the way, but Gaines should be a solid contributor over the next few years.
Andrew Johnson (#15) - Cornerback
The only other true freshman who is currently listed as a corner who may see time this year is Andrew Johnson, also out of Miami, Florida. It is as if the University of Miami's recent struggles and coaching changes has benefited us in some way, although I can't quite put my finger on it. Johnson and BFF Hollimon (see below) originally committed to Ole Miss, and then got with us late and almost didn't commit at all, as rumors of him going elsewhere and taking Holliman with him flew. But he and Hollimon (see below) committed together and Johnson (but not Hollimon) (see below) arrived this May to enroll and get started with the team. Johnson picked us over Miami, Ole Miss and West Virginia. Check out the TD he scores around the :18 mark:
Crazy fast and with experience in the secondary, and a head start on summer classes and workouts, a guy like Johnson could surprise us with solid play from the getgo. But if we could redshirt him, and the staff stayed together, he would also be a huge buzz generator as a RS freshman in 2012. Probably not enough ahead of him to redshirt this season, and Charlie Strong always gives freshman a chance to play. But I wouldn't be surprised if we don't see him those first two games just in case we won't need him all season. This is an interesting line from his official bio, and says a lot about high school football: "didn't play much defense as a senior, registered more than 2,500 all-purpose yards and scored 19 touchdowns, while playing quarterback, wide receiver and running back."
CardsFan922 Prediction: Watch for #15 in the first two games. If you don't see him, expect him to redshirt unless injuries and poor play force Strong's hand. If you do see him, well, hopefully you are just being observant and aren't seeing the back of his jersey chasing down the wild horse from behind. Solid multi-year contributor, assuming staff continuity and normal growth and improvement.
Terrell Floyd (#19) - Cornerback
Another Florida native (Port Pierce via Port St. Lucie High School, to be exact), Floyd is probably the least heralded of the incoming secondary recruits. With reported offers from Rutgers, Marshall and South Carolina and alleged interest from Miami, Florida and LSU, Floyd committed relatively early last September. His official bio touts 4.59 40 yard dash and 22.3 200 meter dash times, but is not clear whether that's electronic or human measurement, nor does it explain how much of a difference electronic or human measurement would make, and if it IS such a difference, why ever report 40 times without also making clear electronic or human, you know? Maybe they are saving that for their "blog."
"I can see the BACK OF THE HOUSE from here." via api.ning.com
Anyway, here's how ESPN's non-insider description reads:
Floyd is an explosive athlete who plays the game fast and physical. A quick-twitched, reactive athlete with good rangy size who will likely get recruited at corner. Has a leaner, rangier frame with good height. Transitions extremely quick with little wasted motion out of his pedal breaking on the perimeter.
CardsFan922 Prediction: Likely will redshirt, and if he doesn't, either he's a badass or we are really in trouble. Preseason predictions are binary, people. Regardless, whenever he does play, we have to all agree that anytime he makes a good play, we describe his actions as "rangy" or "rangier than the wide receiver" on that play. Agreed? Good. Moving on, then, to the safeties:
Jermaine Reve (#27) Safety
Another early enrollee and another Miami Northwestern alum (joining 19 other of his former teammates), Reve originally committed to, wait for it.....UCF......blam!1!11.....before switching to us in January and enrolling almost immediately afterwards. According to some random dude's pictures on flickr (the awesomely named triceratopscowboy), Reve didn't really look like a kid who should be getting ready for prom during spring practice.
UCF's local hometown paper reported on the switch from UCF back in January:
Reve was one the first players to commit to UCF for the 2011 recruiting class, pledging to join the Knights in June. The 6-foot, 175-pound athlete is capable of playing safety and linebacker.
If he is going to play linebacker, expect a redshirt. If he is going to play safety, well, we've got some dudes who are decent at safety, so don't expect him to start. But, since there's not much depth behind Smith and Holton (the BACK OF THE HOUSE Patrol?) and Champ Lee has moved to linebacker, do expect to see him get some early playing time. According to the below video, Reve has both a 3.4 GPA and a golden aura that, when illuminated, allows him to pause time and make sick football plays:
So, he's got that going for him.
CardsFan922 Prediction: With Reve, Hollimon (see below), and Calvin Pryor (see...you know) all incoming true freshman safeties, expect at least one of them to either redshirt and/or be converted to cornerback, and the others to back up Holton and Smith. Weird, we are surprisingly thin at safety. I guess it is possible that Champ Lee or Terence Simien moves back there, but both of them have put on linebacker size, so we'll see. Regardless, Reve is a talent that will see the field, but, like his Miami counterparts, would be a stud RS Freshman in 2012.
QUICK SIDEBAR: As excited as I am about 2011, I am really excited about 2012. Assuming, you know, the world doesn't end, by which I mean, Charlie Strong leaves. If that happens, I hope the Mayans and that weird Alien Ph.D. dude on the History Channel are right.
You know you've seen this guy and believe every word he says via t1.gstatic.com
Calvin Pryor (#25) - Safety
Another talented Florida commitment, Port St. Joe's Calvin Pryor verballed last September, stuck with us through signing day and got on campus in time for summer classes in May. With reported offers from Baylor, FSU, Maryland, South Florida and Stanford (Stanford?), Pryor is the type of player who we are only getting because our current coaching staff is made up of badass men.
If you have 10 minutes (and clearly you must, if you have made it this far, although that's probably because you are really excited about Hollimon (see below)), watch him on offense, defense and special teams here:
If you only have 3 minutes and like awesome big hits, watch this short video:
ESPN likes him (insiders can get more details) and also thinks he is "rangy" although not as "rangy" as Floyd.
CardsFan922 Prediction: Starting a few months behind Reve may put him at a slight disadvantage, but no question he is talented. With his size, it's always possible he moves to LB, although we seem to have much more of a need at safety. Again, future is bright with guys like this coming in and not starting right away. Big talent. Very exciting.
Gerod Holliman (#?) Safety
Finally, the 18 year old dude you've all been waiting for. The first Cardinal to commit live during the Army All-Star game, Holliman is a highly recruited safety out of Miami who had originally decided to go to Ole Miss before becoming a Card. The 3rd rated Safety and 49th rated player overall, by ESPN, Holliman would be the most anticipated player in the class if it wasn't for Teddy Bridgewater and DeVante Parker, among other highly anticipated players. ESPN also describes him thusly: "Tall, long, high-cut and well-defined." That doesn't make any sense to me, but if someone can try to explain it in the comments, I would appreciate it.
Maybe this video will help:
You can see his high-cutness around the, uh, 44 second mark. No idea. Anyway, this guy is the real deal and should make an immediate impact, even if he doesn't start. Seems to have the skill set to be a better long-term safety than corner, but wouldn't be surprised if he played in nickel packages over another corner.
CardsFan922 Prediction: Plays from game 1 and sees significant time in the early games. Another guy who I will go out of my way to watch for when the defense is on the field to see when he's out there. I really doubt he supplants Holton this year, but I also don't think he's the kind of player who won't be starting until he's a Junior. Something's got to give.
All in all, a very talented, rangy, high-cut group that will make an impact right away. And make you want to fast forward to 2012.