#21 London Iakopo
Class: RS Junior
Hometown: Carson, CA
Thoughts: If you read the countdown back on Day 24 you'll remember how I called Zykiesis Cannon one of the "unnoticed" guys on a very good defense from last year. In that same vein, London Iakopo has to be the most forgotten player on the defense heading into the 2017 season.
London was a great pickup for the Cards out of JUCO (stole him from Arizona) last year as a former 4-star safety looking to push for some early PT backing up some veterans. The first couple games London was getting special teams love and was singled out by Petrino for being a big hitter who could also make the tackle, as he had already grabbed 5 in just three games. On the Cards trip over to Marshall, after coming off such a high against FSU, London went down in the first half on a return play with an apparent knee injury, and then "poof"..he was gone for the year. Iakopo had surgery a couple weeks later, but the season continued, days passed, then months, and many had forgotten about the newly acquire London by the time spring ball came around. Not wanting to press it London was somewhat limited during the spring, which meant you could fast forward all the way to late July and nary a mention of him had been made since October of last year. Missing the majority of the 2016 season, in combination with him being a new acquisition to the team last year, left many fans surprised to see his name pop up as a starting linebacker on the initial depth chart last month. Starter? Linebacker? Who is he again? Well, after a couple weeks of fall camp it appears London has reintroduced himself to the fanbase, playing very well after coming off surgery and picking up where he left off in the JUCO ranks early on.
From "oh yeah, I forgot about him" to appearing on three or four "breakout player" lists from local media, London has positioned himself to make the impact the coaches and fans though he could at some point during his Louisville career. The good news is that London's medical redshirt was approved and he still has two full seasons of eligibility remaining with the Cards. While it always make me nervous when players make a return after a significant injury it seems as if Iakopo only knows one speed, and that’s full throttle. Congrats to Iakopo on fighting to get back and working your way into a key spot on this defensive team. Looking forward to watching him blow some folks up over the middle this season and making a name for himself with his second chance.
Keep this handy when the guy next to you in Lucas Oil butchers his name for the fourth time. By the way, that’s only three weeks from today.