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The Cardinal Countdown: 19 Days Until Kickoff


#19 Ja’Quay Savage

Class: Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/210

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Tyrone, GA

Twitter: @JaQuaySavage

Thoughts: Full disclosure, doing this countdown the last five seasons I feel as if I’m fairly up to date on our roster, have a solid grasp on the depth chart, and probably know “who made the tackle” or “who made that block” more so than the average fan, especially for the first few weeks of the season. With that said, last year the receivers threw me for a damn loop. I knew each of the guys but it dawned on me a couple weeks in that Louisville was fielding three brand new wideouts, guys who had never played  a down for Louisville before 2015, who were all within two inches of each other in height, 5-10lbs in weight, and all had the initials “JS”. Jamari Staples, Jaylen Smith, and Ja’Quay Savage. Come on Petrino, you’re killing me. Old man memory was strugglin’. Moving on.

I was very high on Savage last year. In fact, I called him the most athletic receiver on the team in last year’s countdown. About a month into the season I felt fairly good with my proclamation as he had 12 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown…then Jamari Staples returned from injury and Savage could not get back onto the field. In fact, he didn’t record another catch the rest of the season. And it was killing him. In an article from Steve Jones earlier this year Savage talked about how he was down and discouraged about not being “the man” on the team, a role he had grown accustomed to in his young career. A few pep talks from Mom, Petrino, and finding comfort in his faith have recharged Ja’Quay in the offseason making him more focused and better prepared, and the coaches and his teammates have noticed. Petrino said he was faster…Coach Galloway praised his hussle…and Charles Standberry went so far as to say he’ll be “one of the best receivers in the ACC” this year. That of course it yet to be determined, but no one is arguing that his new attitude and work ethic has positioned him to be a big piece of the offense this year.

I don’t think anyone is expecting Savage to replace Staples, a guy who many are VERY high on heading into the year, myself included, but Savage has shown up to this point that he deserves to get more reps. Lamar learning the playbook and how to make all his checkdowns will certainly provide a boost to the receiving yardage and the each wideout’s stat line without a doubt, and that includes Savage. Last season Savage finished 9th on the team in receptions…and once again, he didn’t have a catch after the first four games. While it’s tough to argue Savage will become a bigger target than Staples, Jaylen, Quick, Reggie or even Hikutini in 2016 I think his impact on and off the field will be felt significantly more than what he contributed last year. Of those mentioned above, only Jaylen and Reggie have the potential to be back in 2017, meaning a good season for Savage will likely place him in a leadership role the following year. Who knows, maybe this time next year we’ll be talking about how he is “the man” once again. Should be fun to watch.

Sweet Tweet:

Look at that. A kid from Georgia and a kid from Kentucky…just out there grinding together. Football can bring people from all over the country together…but we also know that hometown pride runs deep. I wonder what it would look like if each state on the Louisville roster (who had enough players to do so) put together a 7-on-7 squad…hmmm…. [dream sequence music begins to plays as I rest my chin on my hand and look aimlessly into the sky]

Here’s my best shot at who would line up where for each state….







Georgia and Kentucky got some pretty damn good squads…but let’s be real…Florida would murder everyone, right? Who you got?