Justifying the Hype: An In-depth Look at Louisville Football Recruiting

Chris Graythen

As Louisville fans, we have all experienced the bliss that has been the 2012-2013 athletic season. In addition to winning the men’s National Championship in basketball, reaching the Final Four/being National Runners Up in Woman’s Basketball and reaching the CWS in baseball, the football team achieved the greatest accomplishment ever in Louisville Football history by finishing 11-2 and defeating the #3 ranked Florida Gators in the 2013 All-State Sugar Bowl.

Since that great time back in January, a lot of things have changed and it has been somewhat of a mixed bag for Louisville football fans when it comes to public perception. One of the things we often hear from the general public is that Florida was not interested in that game because they failed to get the job done to make it into the BCS National Championship game (complete non-sense if you go back and re-watch that game). Another common misconception is that while Louisville recruiting is at the best it has ever been, Strong and staff still have not recruited well enough to be able to legitimately hang with the big boys. Well I am here to show you why you should hang your head extremely high as a Cardinal fan and arm you with every statistic you need to counter such asinine arguments. Below you can review the recruiting rankings from 2010 (Strongs first year) through 2013 which will show you all the highest rated recruits on the roster for the upcoming season. At the end I also added current commits for the 2014 class so we can have a reference point for the future of Louisville football. After you review the data, I will discuss them a little more in depth. (Position rankings and Star ratings were pooled from Scouts, Rivals, ESPN and 24/7 Sports with the highest ranking/rating shown for review)

4Star 2010 Recruits

#20 ATH – Dominique Brown

#16 WR – Michaelee Harris

#17 DE – BJ Butler

#NR DT – De’Antre Rhodes (Post Grad)

#18 OLB – Deon Rogers

** Notable 3Star 2010 Recruits

#35 DE – Marcus Smith

#33 OL – Chase Petersen

#31 RB – Kamal Hogan

4Star 2011 Recruits

#6 DQB – Teddy Bridgewater

#15 WR – Eli Rogers

#26 WR – Devante Parker

#23 DE – Bryant Dubose

#23 CB – Andrew Johnson

**Noteable 3Star 2011 Recruits

#14 RB – Jerrell Moore

#20 C – Mike Romano

#24 OL – John Miller

#30 CB – Terrell Floyd

#22 S – Calvin Pryor

#7 K – John Wallace

4Star 2012 Recruits

#2 TE (2010) Transfer – Gerald Christian

#21 WR (2010) Transfer – Matt Milton

#27 OL – Abraham Garcia

#7 ILB – Keith Brown

#10 ILB – Nick Dawson

#17 OLB – James Burgess

#20 CB – Devontre Parnell

#1 S – Gerrod Holliman

**Noteable 3Star Recruits

#37 PQB – Will Gardner

#30 RB – Brandon Radcliff

#6 TE – Ryan Hubbell

#9 K – Josh Appleby

5Star 2013 Recruits

#3 WR – James Quick

4Star 2013 Recruits

#17 QB – Kyle Bolin

#38 WR – Richard Benjamin

#17 DE – Stacey Thomas

#34 DT – De’Asian Richardson

#31 OLB – Donel Elam

#51 ATH – Charles Williams

**Noteable 3Star Recruits

#37 TE – Keith Towbridge

#36 DT – Kyle Shortridge

#33 LB – Keith Kelsey

4Star 2014 Recruits

#18 QB – Reggie Bonnafon

#20 S – Michael Johnson

#34 WR – Isaiah Ford

#28 S – Nilijah Ballew

**Noteable 3Star Recruits

#38 DE – Henry Famurewa

#33 OLB – Jeff Williams

#20 ILB – Detric Dukes

#40 CB – De’Eric Culver

So as you can see our recruiting has been pretty stellar and is setup for 2014, with a full year to go of recruiting, to continue that stellar success. Now that you have seen Coach Strongs recruiting efforts as a whole, lets take an in depth look at the players we have that will be starting for this upcoming seasons team.

On offense we will be lining up with 4* QB and likely #1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft Teddy Bridgewater along with 4* RB Dominique Brown, 4* WR’s Eli Rogers, Devante Parker, Michaelee Harris, Matt Milton, 5* freshman James Quick, 4* TE Gerald Christian and 4* OL Abraham Garcia. Also starting on the offensive line are 3* and top 25 positional players in John Miller and Mike Romano.

On defense we will take the field featuring 4* DE’s BJ Butler, Bryant Dubose and Stacey Thomas. Joining them will be 4* DT’s De’Antre Rhodes and De’Asian Richardson. While all of these 4* defensive linemen will not start, they will be featured on the 2/3 deep depth chart and see the field many times throughout the season.

Moving onto the linebacking corp which is truely been a stellar area of recruiting. In 2013 Louisville will feature 4*LB’s Deon Rogers, Nick Dawson, Keith Brown, James Burgess and Donel Elam.

Now for the secondary which has been almost as equally impressive as the linebacking corps. The 2013 Cardinals do lose All Big East performer Adrian Bushell but will still feature former 4* DB’s Andrew Johnson, Devontre Parnell and Gerrod Holliman,

Now that is pretty impressive, however the talent isn’t just limited to Star ratings. Charlie Strong and his staff have done a phenomenal job in evaluating and building up players who were not as highly regarded coming out of High School. Primary examples of this are impact performers and former 3* players Marcus Smith (2010 #35 DE), Terrell Floyd (2011 #30 CB), Calvin Pryor (2011 #22 S) and John Wallace (2011 #7 K) Also expected to more involved in their sophomore seasons are former 3* players Brandon Radcliff (2012 #30 RB), Ryan Hubbell (2012 #6 TE) and Josh Appleby (2012 #9 K)

Now after all of this you have the ammo you need to counter all the naysayers, particularly those that reside down I-64. As is evident by all of the above intel, 2013 features a pretty stacked roster FULL of talent, featuring 24 former 4 Star players and 1 5 Star player in Freshman James Quick. 2013 has all the makings to be a banner year for Louisville football and it’s going to be one hell of a ride if the boys are able to put it all together. #L1C4

Article from WildCard Sports

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