Though we're expecting July to be big for the 2017 recruiting class, it's turning out to be pretty big for the class of 2018 Louisville football recruiting class as well. Two days after receiving a commitment from Tallahassee speedster Marcus Riley, Louisville landed a commitment from Miami Northwestern High School cornerback Trenell Troutman. Troutman's commitment (with all the necessary qualifications that go along with a kid committed over a year and a half before he can sign, of course) is encouraging for Louisville's long-term hopes of staying ahead of the middle of the pack in the ACC and helping to close the recruiting gap between it and both Florida State and Clemson.
Troutman (5'11, 170) is rated a four-star cornerback by Rivals.com and plays for one of the most consistently talent-laden programs in Florida. If Miami Northwestern sounds familiar, it is the high school that produced Michaelee Harris, Corvin Lamb, Teddy Bridgewater, and Eli Rogers. Those guys all helped Louisville out just a little bit over the past few years. What sticks out in the highlight video below is Troutman's ability to catch the ball, over receivers and at its highest point. Defensive backs don't always have the greatest hands, so having a corner with anticipation and hands only means more possessions for a Bobby Petrino offense.
Troutman's commitment this early is big for Louisville for several reasons. First, it shows that Louisville is still enjoying some of the residual effects of the 2010 and 2011 Northwestern kids' experience at Louisville. If it had been a disaster or even overall negative, the current kids in that area would know. Second, Troutman and Riley both show Louisville is going to be able to maintain the Florida recruiting presence that was essential to the program's rise under John L. Smith and Bobby Petrino the first time as well as its resurgence under Charlie Strong. Third, it shows that Louisville isn't losing ground in Florida despite the departure of Lamar Thomas to Kentucky. Kolby Smith is Riley's lead recruiter and Cort Dennison, Louisville's newest cornerbacks coach was lead on Troutman.
Cornerback recruiting is always going to be vital for Louisville given the annual games with Florida State and Clemson and the proliferation of spread, no-huddle offenses in the ACC. Getting (and keeping) Troutman will go a long way towards helping Louisville stay competitive in the ACC in the future.
Note: After all of that Miami Northwestern talk, my SB Nation pal Cam Underwood informs me Troutman has transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas for his junior season.