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The Cardinal Countdown: 1 Day Until Kickoff

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#1 Alphonso Carter

Class: Sophomore

Ht/Wt: 6-3/205

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Fort Washington, MD

Twitter: @HollaAtchGwolla

Thoughts: Carter has traveled down an interesting path to land here at Louisville, which recently included legally changing his name from Paul Harris, joining Ja’Quay Savage and Kai De La Cruz on the name change bandwagon in the last two years.

“Name Change U?”

A top prospect out of high school Carter committed to play for Tennessee and saw some action as a true freshman (5 games), but quickly decided that season would be his last wearing the orange and white due to some disagreements with the wide receivers coach. Towards the end of the season Carter actually experienced a hamstring injury and felt the best path to transfer to another SEC school (his goal) and to also rehab his injury would be to go the JUCO route. Carter enrolled at Iowa Western, a school who produced Ryan Hubbell and Trevon Young for the Cards previously, but before ever playing a game Carter injured the other side of his hamstring on the same leg and was forced to miss more time.

While Carter was injured Petrino came calling and Carter actually committed to the Cards before ever stepping foot on the field for Iowa Western. When he finally got back to 100% about midway through the season Petrino recommended that Carter just take the year off, get healthy, and use his redshirt, and that's exactly what he did. So, walking onto campus as an early enrollee last year Carter was one of the highly coveted “three years of eligibility” transfers. Since his arrival Carter has shown signs that he can be a solid piece of the receiving core moving forward, BUT, the hamstring issues have flared up once again this fall and his time has been limited, which one would assume is why he wasn’t included on the recently released depth chart. I think Carter fights his way back to health in the next few weeks and makes some impact in 2015, setting himself up to take on a larger role next year.

Sweet Tweet:

See Coach, what had happened was…ummm…I saw this opening…and… ummm…nevermind. [cleans out locker]

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#1 Keith Brown

Class: RS Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-1/237

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Miami, FL

Twitter: @Keith_Brown1

Thoughts: I touched on this a couple times during the summer but this is actually the fourth year I’ve done the countdown series here on Card Chronicle. I thought it was fitting that the last player I cover this season is a fourth year player, meaning I’ve had a post on him since before he played a down in a Cardinal uniform and will now cover his RS Junior season. If you’re up for it check my take on…

2012 Keith Brown

2013 Keith Brown

2014 Keith Brown

So, here we are. I called Keith a future All-American back in 2012 and I have to admit that after that first season I felt pretty damn good about my prognostication. He was tagged as a freshman All-American, played in 11 games, started 5 of those as the season progressed and was one of the leading tacklers on the team. An ACL injury derailed 2013 for Keith and to be quite honest I think it slowed him down in 2014 as well. Limited mostly to reserve duties and special team’s assignments 2014 just wasn’t what Keith wanted or expected of himself. As spring practice started earlier this year and positions became fluid, as they typically do, Brown shifted from inside to outside linebacker, and the coaches could see signs that he was working his way back to 2012 form. While the injury still hampered him occasionally in the spring and summer he appears to be close to full speed now and has taken on his new role with enthusiasm, impressing Grantham in the process. In a  recent interview Keith spoke on how enjoyed the freedom of the outside linebacker position, basically being called upon to rush the passer or drop in coverage and not having to worry about calling out assignments or moving players into the correct position. Grantham said he has the speed and power to be a great outside linebacker just needing to work on his pass rush skill set and setting the edge for outside runs.

In the last few weeks it’s been a popular pick to tag Brown as a “sleeper” or “breakout” player this season, and to be honest, I agree. I think Keith can make a big impact this year, especially if Fields performs as most expect and teams try to avoid him; attacking the strong side of the defense. If Brown embraces his new position and remains healthy he will be great this year. All-American great? Not sure about that, but if he is, just remember that you heard it here first…four years ago. Now if that isn’t a reason to read these countdown posts all over again next year, I’m not sure what is.

Sweet Tweet:

I know this is borderline blasphemy in the bluegrass state but I love the first Saturday  of college football more than the opening weekend of college basketball [ducks behind desk]

It’s going to be like Christmas in the CardinalStrong household tomorrow, and what better way to put a bow on top of it all than a Cardinal victory? We’ve made it through all 100 days, but be sure to check back tomorrow for a ‘0 Days’ post where I highlight some of my favorite player recaps throughout the summer.

Merry Christmas Cards fans, football is here!