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Louisville football recruiting: Jawon Pass commits to the Cardinals

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Bobby Petrino scored the biggest recruiting victory of his second tenure at Louisville Thursday when blue-chip quarterback Jawon Pass committed to the Cardinals over SEC powers Alabama and Auburn.

Student Sports

Jawon Pass, a four-star quarterback out of Columbus, GA, gave Bobby Petrino his biggest recruiting win in his second tenure at Louisville and the program's highest profile recruiting win since Teddy Bridgewater committed in December 2010. Pass, who recently finished competing at the national Elite 11 competition, is a composite four-star prospects according to 247Sports and is ranked the nation's #4 dual-threat quarterback.

You can watch video of Pass throwing at the competition below.

Obviously, Pass' commitment is enormous for the future of Louisville football. Here are a few reasons why.

Quarterbacks (and coaches) lift college football programs. It's almost impossible to find a college football program that raised its national profile or began competing for championships without elite quarterback play. In addition to Louisville's own history with good coaches and quarterbacks, Baylor went from virtually nothing in football to a pretty consistent contender in the Big 12 because Art Briles is an evil genius and they were able to get a kid named Robert Griffin, Boise State was able to challenge big boys in part because of a seven year stretch of Jared Zabransky and Kellen Moore, just to give a couple of modern examples.

Given the perennial challenge of trying to catch Florida State and Clemson in the ACC Atlantic, elite quarterback play is going to be essential for Louisville and Pass can provide just that.

Puns. I speak selfishly here. He's a quarterback...with the name "Pass"...the possibilities are endless. You can only be excited about signing a quarterback that writes his own headlines.

Reinforces Petrino's evolution to using the quarterback as part of the running game. We already saw it with the ways Reggie Bonnafon was used in the run game (see the Notre Dame game and the spring game) and with the signing of Lamar Jackson. With Pass, there's no denying that using the quarterback in the run game is going to be a staple of Petrino's offense going forward. Petrino has certainly used a quarterback's mobility in the past, but it was more to keep defenses honest and throw on the run. With Bonnafon, Jackson, and Pass, the pistol looks and some running quarterback dimension is here to stay.

Optics. What's better than getting an elite quarterback? Getting an elite quarterback that was also considering Auburn and Alabama and just took a well publicized visit to Alabama just before his decision. To be able to say you beat the biggest of the big boys at the most important position on the field sends quite a message, especially given the doubting of Petrino's ability to recruit when he was hired.

Additionally, Pass will be playing in the US Army All-American Bowl at the end of the season, meaning him and his commitment to Louisville will stay front and center even after the season ends and right up to signing day. Free advertising.

Quarterback commitments are often the bellwether of a recruiting class. I'm not sure Pass is in the same position that Teddy was when he was ringleader of a number of Miami area kids who came to Louisville together. Nevertheless, it's a lot easier to sell remaining targets at receiver, tight end, and offensive line, that you've got a bright future if you come and play alongside a future star at quarterback. It won't hurt in the effort to hold on to Desmond Fitzpatrick and Chris Taylor-Yamanoha and it won't hurt in finishing off getting a commitment from Keion Wakefield knowing Pass is going to be the guy throwing them the ball.

Louisville can take its time. By the time Pass arrives, Bonnafon will be a junior and Lamar Jackson will be a redshirt freshman/sophomore. So, if Louisville decides they want to take their time and work on Pass' mechanics and teach him the offense, that luxury will probably be there. Do high-profile quarterbacks redshirt? Not typically. But if Jameis Winston can sit for a year behind EJ Manuel, Pass can do something similar if necessary.

The nucleus is in place. Everyone remembers Petrino's offenses from his first tour of duty in Louisville as well as at Arkansas. With QBs like pass and Jackson, receivers like Peete, Spence, Smith, Harris, Savage, Fitzpatrick Traveon Samuel, and LJ Scott and James Allen (hopefully) at running back, the skill positions are going to be well stocked to put up numbers yet again.