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The Cardinal Countdown: 88 Days Until Kickoff

2007 FedEx Orange Bowl: Louisville v Wake Forest Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

#88 Javonte Bagley

Class: Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/202

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Vero Beach, FL

Twitter: @Javonte_bagley

Thoughts: Javonte Bagley is without a single solitary doubt in my mind, the best practice player Louisville football has ever seen. In the months of March, April, and early August Bagley is frankly...unstoppable. His hands, his routes, his speed, it’s all there. For those of us who may have forgot, a few weeks into his first practice as a true freshman Petrino compared Bagley to one ‘Harry freakin’ Douglas’. Fair? Probably not, but many were excited about his potential and the 2014 season came and went and Bagley finished the year with just 2 catches for 18 yards. Then the spring of 2015 came and Javonte was making headlines again, “breakout star”, “player on the rise”, he was once again making plays when the lights were off. Then, the Cards influx of new targets arrived like a ship in the night (Staples, Savage, Hikiutini, Jaylen, Samuel) and Bagley was limited to 7 catches for 88 yards as the season wrapped up. The 2016 offseason was the same book, different chapter, as his talent was once again praised but just did not translate to gameday statistics (3rec/21yds) for some reason.

So, don’t color me surprised when Day 1 of Spring Ball, who’s name should come up from Petrino as a standout but one Mr. Javonte Bagley. Making catches over the middle, flashing his hands, showing off his speed, Bagley was picking up right were he left off…last Spring. This isn’t some new observation or groundbreaking analysis, Petrino himself said in late March that Bagley has to start getting his athleticism to translate into production, saying “He has all kinds of talent, and we just keep waiting for it to turn on. This is the year he really has to come out and make good plays for us”. Well since he’s a Senior coach I’d say this is in fact THE year. Before we get to deep into this rabbit hole let me make it perfectly clear that this isn’t a knock on the young man, not at all. In fact, if he just didn’t have the talent to compete we could simply thank him for his time and effort while here and move along, but that is not the case. The most frustrating part of all of this is that we’ve seen just how good he can be. So where do we go from here? Whats fair of the fan base to expect from Bagley this season?

Bagley is going to have the same challenge in front of him this year that he’s faced the last three seasons. Talent. With Jaylen Smith, Seth Dawkins, Reggie, Ja’Quay Savage, Emonee Spence, Devante Peete, and Dez Fitzpatrick all looking to make an impact this year, Bagley will need to continue his Spring ball dominance to get on the field consistently. One major hurdle for Bagley previously has been inexperience, as he is just now playing his 6th season of organized football (4 of them at UofL) which is crazy when you really think about it. Some of these guys have been playing since they were a toddler and Bagley was athletic enough to earn a spot on a D-I squad after only 2 years of strapping on the pads. As a Senior he now has the reps under his belt to feel confident in the system, and we know he has the talent to compete, I’m cheering for him as he battles to get over the proverbial hump one last time.

Sweet Tweet:

I’ve always wanted to try and go through a full Petrino practice. I’m sure it would be horrible but it’d be cool to say you did it. Now that I’m “mid-thirties” I can probably take the verbal abuse, but the physical toll on my body would absolutely wreck me. Also thought it’d be cool to run through a Dan McDonnell practice since baseball was my sport of choice growing up and I’m sure I’d feel leaving 100x better about myself after speaking with Dan...

I’ll pass on the Pitino practice….I’m not a masochist.