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The Cardinal Countdown: 25 Days Until Kickoff

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

#25 Josh Harvey-Clemons

Class: Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-5/228

Position: Safety

Hometown: Valdosta, GA

Twitter: @jdat25

Thoughts: Harvey-Clemons making the decision to return to Louisville in 2016 (along with the other three defensive studs) was the biggest news of the offseason. I know the new blood gets all the hype but there will not be a single freshman we brought in, or group of freshman, who have the impact of those four (groundbreaking analysis, I know). It’s hard to summarize what their impact will mean into a single sentence but saying they will be a significant presence on the stat sheet, in the weight room, as team leaders, and as an extension of the coaches on the field…well, it’s a pretty good start.

I told you all back on Day 55 about how excited I was to see Kelsey return but after some deep thought and hours of analysis (amazing what a couple shots of bourbon will do to a crying 9 month old) I think I’ve convinced myself that Harvey-Clemons return may be slightly more important than that of Kelsey. Could Keith, or Fields for that matter, have more tackles, sacks, etc? Of course, but the flexibility that JHC brings to the defense is nearly impossible to replace with a single player. While you hate to even mention it, a potential injury to a Kelsey, DeAngelo Brown or Fields would sting for sure, but we do have some able bodies behind them. A loss of JHC would force Grantham to use two or maybe three different guys to fill that void. I was listening to some local radio last week and I believe Matt Willinger summed up JHC pretty well, equating him to the “Reggie Bonnafon of the defense”. Grantham’s “Star” defended can, and will, be asked to play the role of safety, outside linebacker, defensive end, and at times a coverage corner. What other single player would take on that role if JHC goes down? The short answer…no one. We have plenty of capable corners/safeties and an equal number of talented ends and linebackers, but none of them have the flexibility to play all four of those positions at this point. In my eyes JHC is the single most valuable player on that side of the ball that we’ve had in some time.

If you follow Louisville football even remotely close then you’re well aware of the post season (2015) and preseason (2016) accolades for JHC. I don’t need to run down the watch lists he appears on or highlight the All-ACC nods he’s received, nor do I need to emphasize his 88 tackles, 3 interceptions, or forced fumble from a season ago. You know “he good” and me reading a list of accomplishments isn’t going to alter your opinion on just how important he is to this team. A big season for JHC could, in my opinion, propel him into a first or early second round draft pick due to his size, strength and versatility, but more importantly for us fans, could help lead the Cards to a pretty special season.

Sweet Tweet: Josh just has a bunch of retweets and nothing really of any substance for me to make a joke about or use to get you hyped up. With that said, how about another poll to stir up some discussion and fill your lazy Sunday with a multitude of “hot takes”.

We all know each of the four returning players is a big piece to our defense this season and each of them, individually; returning for 2016 was great news. On Day 25 I have now covered all four players (feel free to go back to Days 97, 92, and 55 if you missed the recaps), I made an argument for JHC above, but who do YOU think will be the most impactful player of the ‘Louisville Four’ (as referenced by Keith Kelsey) in 2016? I think one could make an argument for any of the four, let me hear yours…