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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

It’s not “watching Louisville lose by 61,” it’s “gathering at Memorial Stadium.”

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—Spread check: NC State by 16.5.

—According to Jody Demling, Jaelyn Withers signed his letter of intent to play for Louisville this morning, making him the fifth player in Chris Mack’s 2019 recruiting class to sign his name on the dotted line. Only Aidan Igiehon — who has already said that he plans to wait until the second signing period so that his family from Ireland can attend the ceremony — remains.

—Jaylen Smith says Louisville football has “a positive voice” again.

“You can tell it’s a lot more lighthearted, a lot more energetic, a lot more geared towards enjoying it and having fun,” Smith said on Wednesday night. “There’s more teaching instead of pounding our legs and running and running. There’s two different ways to be a perfectionist.

“You do it until you get it right, or you mess up and coach it. We’ve been doing more of the stop, slow it down, and coach it. The energy has been tremendous in every drill, from drill to drill, starting from the stretch and ending with punt and kickoff.”

One of the seniors on the roster, Smith said he was not surprised by the firing of Petrino and four other staff members but was with the timing.

“All due respect to Coach P, I appreciate all the things he did for me and I am sure all 100 guys in there would agree with my statement,” Smith said. “He did a lot for all of us and we are all thankful for the opportunity that was presented but it was time for a change.

“The energy that coach Whammy (Lorenzo Ward) brought from the opening meeting until right now when we speak has been tremendous. He has been a positive voice for all of us.”

—Smith’s teammates agree.

—There will be t-shirt giveaways and raffles this Saturday at the Card March ... which is happening.

—The CJ says that Kirby Smart going to Georgia and having success shows that Jeff Brohm to Louisville could work.

—Hami Diallo had a rough one last night.

—We’re doing the heavy lifting over at SB Nation this college basketball season by tracking Zion Williamson’s best dunks all year long.

—Early season college basketball tournaments kick off today, marking the start of one of the most underrated two week periods of the sports calendar.

—Jeff Greer writes about (ATHLETIC. LINK.) how Chris Mack managed to land an elite recruiting class despite everything happening with Louisville basketball.

As soon as Slazinski committed, the mission of the five pledges was clear. Nickelberry, who was Igiehon’s teammate at the intimate NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., led the group’s efforts to close out the class with Igiehon, who was long rated as a five-star prospect with McDonald’s All-American potential before dropping in the national recruiting rankings over the summer. Nonetheless, Igiehon was the anchor in the post that the class was lacking. Mack wanted a player at every position in this group.

On one of Igiehon’s Instagram posts, Nickelberry commented, “Supreme athlete.” In his Instagram videos, he implored fans to “spam” Igiehon’s page with pro-Cards comments. Gerald Nickelberry joked that his son has a future as a recruiter, and Slazinski called Nickelberry “the No. 1 recruiter in the country.”

“Josh Nickelberry really helped bring that group together,” Daniels says. “He was the first to commit. He was aggressive and active with trying to get those other guys on board. Those kids had to make their own decisions, but when you have a friend already there, it makes you want to play with that guy. … Momentum is certainly valuable. Kids want to play with other good players. Those kids formed friendships, whether it was on visits or at camps or on social media. They all wanted to play each other.”

Igiehon’s decision came down to Oregon, St. John’s and Louisville. He announced his choice to a crowded auditorium on an October day at his school, Lawrence Woodmere Academy, hours after Mack had flown to New York to seal the deal.

“He did his homework,” says Jeff Weiss, Igiehon’s high school coach. “He’s a really intelligent kid. The Louisville coaches had been recruiting him for pretty long. He and his family thought it was the best fit, being (Mack’s) first recruiting class. He wanted to be a part of an up-and-coming class. They liked the school, the proximity to the airport, the community. With any kid of that stature, it starts to weigh on you. He was anxious to make a decision and get it done.”

—Mack’s class is currently No. 4 in the rankings from 247 Sports.

—Cardinal volleyball signed five prospects on Wednesday.

—I can’t get enough of this stuff.

—The field hockey Final Four at Trager Stadium kicks off tomorrow.

—Ryan Finley gets most of the headlines, but expect NC State’s ground game to carry the bulk of the offensive load this weekend against Louisville.

—This would be a nice gift to have for the holidays.

—The bad news is Indiana looked awesome last night, Romeo Langford looked awesome last night, and Assembly Hall looked insane last night. The good news is that Marquette, who Louisville could face the day after Thanksgiving, didn’t look as awesome.

—Danielle Lerner writes about how Chris Mack quantifies intensity to make sure no detail goes unnoticed.

—Tickets for NCAA tournament action at Lynn Stadium are now available.

—After a soul-crushing loss to Wake Forest, NC State is looking to rebound this Saturday against Louisville.

—Lamar Jackson is “very prepared” if the Ravens choose to give him the start this weekend.

—”Like a baby.”

—Nyah Green, a top five player from the 2019 recruiting class, never wavered in her commitment to Jeff Walz and Louisville. She signed with the Cards on Wednesday.

—Big Red Louie looks at the good, the bad and the ugly from the Southern game.

—This is a masterpiece.

—Speaking of Mike Leach, here’s 4,700 words on his best quotes.

—Matt Bradshaw of The Louisville Cardinal talks Louisville-NC State.

—The CJ breaks down Friday night’s regional football finals.

—Are these cool?

They seem cool, but I have no idea.

—For Trinity’s David Johnson, his relationship with Chris Mack sealed the deal when it came to signing with U of L.

—Michigan embarrassed Villanova last night in a rematch of the 2018 national championship game.

—The football team enjoyed getting some love Tuesday night, and hopes to get some more Saturday afternoon.

—Yankee Stadium is getting ready for a football game in which Syracuse is going to beat Notre Dame.

—Louisville Magazine catches up with Denny Crum.

—Our own Cardinal Strong embarks on a Q&A with our friends from Backing the Pack.

—And finally, we’re doing the radio show from 3-6 at the Sports & Social Club, which will also be the host for the LORENZO WARD coaches show from 6-7. You can listen to both here.