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Thursday evening Cardinal news and notes

Zach Kukuk gets some face time with a pair of Cardinal greats.

I_medium Sports Illustrated previews its No. 9 player in the 2015 NFL Draft, DeVante Parker.

Conclusion: The smart money is on Amari Cooper or Kevin White to be the first receiver off the board in Round 1. Consider Parker a darkhorse for that honor, and close to a lock for a top-20 selection. He was as good as any receiver in college football over his final six games last season, ending with a three-touchdown regular-season finale against Kentucky and a 120-yard showing vs. Georgia in the Belk Bowl.

Parker plays both stronger and faster than he looks, repeatedly winning battles for receptions. And he is a threat to take one the distance whenever he makes a grab in space.

Any team drafting a receiver with a high first-round pick has to believe that player can be a leader in their offense. Parker is capable of just that, perhaps even as a rookie.

Parker visited with the Titans today after visiting with the Rams on Wednesday.

I_medium In addition to Parker, nine other Cardinals are ranked in SI's list of the top 300 players available in this year's draft.

I_medium The Louisville baseball team looks to remain perfect in ACC series' this season when it hosts Wake Forest for a three-game set at Jim Patterson this weekend. Here's your series preview, and here are your promotions for each game:

I_medium This SI story on Louisville-based hoops "promoter"/con man David Kelly is sort of fascinating. The underbelly of the basketball world remains extremely bizarre.

I_medium Cleveland State coach Gary Waters is upset that he lost Trey Lewis, whom he got by way of transfer from Penn State, to a Louisville transfer.

I_medium Gerod Holliman makes SB Nation's list of the 5 biggest "boom or bust" players in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Gerod Holliman, S, Louisville

Holliman makes the list because he's a one-trick player. Holliman is really, really good at intercepting passes. He led the nation last year with 14 interception, which tied an NCAA record. In regard to his hands, there is no better safety in the draft this year. But after you get past the gaudy interception numbers, you see some issues in his play. Holliman is a skinnier safety and doesn't play very physical. He's not a good tackler and will take a bad angle to the ball. If Holliman's negatives can be coached up, though, he could be a good player because of his ball hawking skills and agility to make a play on the football.

I_medium There is growing talk that Louisville ace Kyle Funkhouser could be the No. 1 overall selection in this June's MLB amateur draft.

I_medium Jeff Greer profiles Deng Adel.

I_medium The officiating in Bellarmine's Final Four loss was atrocious, and no one is accepting responsibility.

I_medium My guess is that by now you've seen the video of Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker being knocked out by former Kentucky/current EKU player Patrick Grafree.

There's nothing funny about a sucker punch from a man that big, and both Barker and Grafree should feel extremely fortunate that more serious damage wasn't done here. Still, I'll join the hoards of folks who have already done the same in expressing my surprise that no one came to Barker's aid here. I've never seen a sucker punch with less of an aftermath. No one runs away, no one goes after the guy, no one goes to help Barker up; it's almost like nothing happened.

I_medium Athlon polled a panel of ACC experts (including our own Mark Ennis), and their responses resulted in Louisville being named the league's fifth-most desirable head coaching position for football.

5. One of the quicker risers in college football (due in large part to the accomplishments of Tom Jurich) checks in as a top-five ACC job after just one season. Facilities continue to surge upwards towards big-time college football but are not on an elite level quite yet. The same could be said about the recruiting base — it's solid, but Louisville must look outside the region to build a roster. There is a lot to like about the Cardinals' post but it still has some work to do to be a nationally revered gig.

Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Miami make up the predictable top four.

I_medium The sixth annual Deion Branch "Skills and Drills" camp will be taking place at St. X on June 6.

I_medium U of L women's stars Mariya Moore and Myisha Hines-Allen were both named Full Court Freshman All-Americans on Wednesday.

I_medium I am not a big Katt Williams fan, and there's nothing from this November bit on Louisville basketball that's especially funny, but it's one of the most well-known comedians in the world talking about David Levitch, so I'm linking it.

I_medium The Cards are No. 18 in NBC's updated way too early top 25.

18. Louisville

  • Who's back: Quentin Snider, Mangok Mathiang, Anas Mahmoud
  • Who's gone: Terry Rozier, Montrezl Harrell, Wayne Blackshear, Shaqquan Aaron
  • Who they're getting: Trey Lewis, Donovan Mitchell, Ray Spalding, Deng Adel
  • Why they're here: Part of it is loving their freshmen class, part of it is faith in Rick Pitino and part of it is the assumption that they have more additions coming.
  • I_medium It's WNBA Draft night for Jude Schimmel, Bria Smith and Sara Hammond. The first round of the draft starts at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, with rounds two and three following on ESPN3.

    I_medium After 33 years, 84WHAS is doing away with its "SportsTalk" program once Lachlan McClean moves to Charlotte next month. McClean is being replaced by conservative talk-show host Mandy Connell, who will host a Louisville-based show ... from Denver.

    I_medium I miss college hoops, but there are perks to every season in Louisville.

    I_medium The Louisville lacrosse team fell to Syracuse this afternoon. The Cards are No. 14 in the country despite being just 1-5 in ACC play.

    I_medium Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal has a list of all the potential visitors for tomorrow night's Spring Game.

    I_medium A statistical look at Louisville's version of the 1985 Chicago Bears.

    I_medium Dammit.

    Foiled by Rick Barnes yet again.

    I_medium Shaqquan Aaron will visit USC this weekend.

    I_medium The Orlando Sentinel mentions Sheldon Rankins as one of the linemen to watch in the ACC this season.

    Sheldon Rankins, Louisville: Another solid defensive player, Rankins is one of five Cardinals back on the team's defensive front seven this season. The defensive end had 13.5 tackles for loss and ranked fifth in the ACC last season with 8 sacks for Louisville, earning him a spot on the preseason watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik and Ted Hendricks awards and the Bronco Nagurski Trophy.

    I_medium The U of L men's tennis team will be holding its senior day ceremonies on Friday. The festivities begin at 3:45 p.m.

    I_medium ESPN profiles UAB transfer Jamari Staples, who has found a home at Louisville.

    "He's a big, explosive receiver," quarterback Kyle Bolin said. "He's got height, he's long, he can jump, he's got great hands. It's just that when new guys come in, there's a lot of pressure on them. They want to go out there and perform. It's all about keeping confidence up. But he's done a great job coming in and giving us a good, big target to throw to."

    That's not to say Staples is going to step right in and replace the production lost with the departures of DeVante Parker or Gerald Christian, but he's comfortable in his role and enjoying the competition so far.

    "I was a little rough on the edges my first week, but it's all coming together," Staples said. "Every day is a tough competition. We're competing every day for positions, so I'm just trying to do my best to get one."

    Who knows how things might have gone if UAB's football program had survived? He tries not to spend too much time reflecting on what might have been.

    The hard part was saying goodbye to old teammates, knowing some wouldn't have the same opportunities he had when the team dissolved, but this next step in his career has actually been something of a blessing.

    Louisville isn't where he'd pictured finishing his college career, but now that he's here, Staples feels like he's at home.

    "It's unfortunate what happened [at UAB], but I feel like God had a different plan for my life," Staples said, "so maybe this was the place for me after all."

    I_medium Louisville, Duke, Kentucky, Texas and Auburn are among the top choices for 2016 standout Rawle Atkins.

    I_medium Jamon Brown will visit with the Washington Redskins.

    I_medium Twitter brilliance.

    I_medium Five-star 2016 guard Tyus Battle will visit Louisville this weekend.

    I_medium SB Nation's Stephen White profiles DeVante Parker.

    I_medium I enjoy this from GG Robinson.

    I_medium Jude Schimmel has written a new book titled Dreamcatcher, which you can purchase on her website.

    I_medium The C-J outlines 4 major storylines for tomorrow's spring game.

    I_medium Georgetown already landed Akoy Agau this year, and now they're after Anton Gill.

    I_medium And finally, Damion Lee seems like the absolute perfect fit for Louisville, now the only question is whether or not he winds up suiting up for the Cards.