#21 London Iakopo
Hometown: Carson, CA
Thoughts: If there is such a thing anymore, in our world of 24/7 coverage, Iakopo has somehow managed to remain “under the radar” since signing with the Cards back in February. Lots of local media outlets, and even folks such as myself during the countdown, have glossed over the potential impact of the incoming JUCO star on the 2016 season. While most have pointed to the obvious standouts in the secondary like JHC, Chucky, Dee Smith, etc London is seldom mentioned as a player who could have an immediate impact just as James Sample did back in 2014. In fact, Grantham went so far as to compare London to Sample on NSD, saying his ability to tackle in space, fill the alley, and his position versatility will allow him to “have the same impact on our defense that James did”. Pretty high praise.
London was what many considered a last minute steal for the Cards on NSD as the #2 rated JUCO safety had been an Arizona commit since late 2015. The pre-Fall camp depth chart didn’t include London on the two deep because he only arrived on campus a few weeks ago, nearly a month later than most of the incoming freshman. With that said, all signs out of camp indicate that he’s picking things up well and Grantham pegged him as a standout with the newcomers after the first couple days. While mostly running with the second team the first couple days, both groups are now together and I’ll be interested to see how he mixes with the vets and where he ends up landing on the depth chart as the camp becomes more physical. His size and speed are impressive and he can certainly lay a hit when he needs to. I’d fully expect him to get some reps against Charlotte and work his way into the rotation at safety by week 2 or 3 once he gets the playbook and coverage schemes down. I mentioned something similar about Dee Smith yesterday in Chucky’s post but I think London will get the same opportunity as Dee to fill in the void when JHC moves down to the front seven, or to potentially even rotate with Chucky. I’d be fine with either.
When doing some digging on London I saw a great quote from Assistant Secondary Coach Cort Dennison. Grantham had already touched on London’s physicality to the Courier-Journal’s Steve Jones and Cort reiterated that sentiment by saying when he’s in the game, “You’re going to feel him”.
Exhibit A of “you’re going to feel him” would be the first 55 seconds of the video below…
You know that feeling where you know you messed up and can't do a dam thing about it— London Iakopo (@iakopo_london21) July 24, 2016
I have also made some very poor decisions in my life and quickly realized there was nothing I could do about. A car wash, late night White castle, and dry cleaning were all involved, not necessarily in that order.