Bobby Petrino and his staff announced a class of 21 recruits this evening with an emphasis on speed on offense and front seven help on defense. As of now, the class is ranked 32nd in the 247 composite which is a few spots better than last year’s class. The class is ranked 7th in the ACC which shows how well some other schools are doing on the recruiting trail. UofL finished 6th in 2017 with a lower ranked class, nationally. Petrino was able to address some major needs along the defensive line and linebacker positions while adding some talent to a secondary that has to replace four starters. On offense he was able to add some much needed speed at the skill positions.
This class might not have ended up ranked as highly as it seemed like it was headed at one point but I do think there is a big positive that is could be overlooked. Louisville has really had issues with missing on some of the players at the bottom of their previous classes. I don’t think that’ll be the case with the 2018 class. It’s obvious what the coaches see in some of the lower ranked players in this class. There are tracks guys who can fly and defenders that were highly productive high school players at schools that play at the highest levels. There were also other top schools going after these prospects. I think that will bode well for how this class plays out on the field as well as the overall recruiting improving going forward.
The 2018 Louisville Football recruiting class:
Dejmi Dumervil-Jean I Defensive Tackle
Dez Dumervil-Jean is a massive defensive tackle who is following the great Elvis Dumervil to Louisville. Even though he’s a little on the heavy side at 6-4 and 350 pounds, Dumervil plays with a good motor and really gets after the ball. I think he could be a candidate to be a rotation player at the nose position in Brian VanGorder’s 4-3 scheme.
Telly Plummer I Defensive Back
Plummer is a very underrated prospect in my opinion. He’s a long and physical corner that could end up moving to safety in college. While he doesn’t show some of the coverage skills of some other prospects, he has the physical mindset that you need to have to cover bigger receivers as well as tackling big power backs.
Hassan Hall I Running Back/Safety
Louisville’s coaching staff seems to really want another running back in this class so the jury is still out on whether or not Hall will play on offense or defense. I personally like him a lot at safety but he has the speed that I think that Louisville lacks in the backfield.
Adonis Boone I Offensive Line
If you’ve followed along over the last few years you know that I won’t attempt to break down offensive line recruits much. Boone has great size at 6-5/285 and he is a likely redshirt candidate so he can add to that frame. His highlights do show enough athleticism to get to the second level quickly which is something that Louisville’s offensive line has struggled with.
Quen Head I Outside Linebacker
Louisville lost out on Nik Bonitto right before the early signing day and replaced him with Head out of the JUCO ranks. I think Louisville was really focused on adding speed on defense and wanted to add a speedy outside linebacker to man the rush end spot that James Hearns is vacating. I actually think that Head fits better in BVG’s system as a weakside outside linebacker. He can cover in short zone, blitz, and he can play the run well.
Robert Hicks I Inside Linebacker
I will go on record and say that I’m not nearly as high on Hicks as most are. He is the highest ranked player in the early signing class and his ranking has actually gone up since December. Hicks was an Auburn commit as a defensive end but he moved to middle linebacker this season and really upped his game. Hicks is a “box” linebacker in my opinion meaning that he’s at his best between the tackles. He might not make a bunch of plays outside the numbers but he can fill running lanes and make plays in the run game.
Trenell Troutman I Safety
Troutman is the size of a corner but plays with the tenacity of a guy in the trenches. Recruiting is never a sure thing but this kid feels as close to sure thing as you can get. He is a very good center fielder type of safety that can play the ball over top in coverage and can come up and knock your head off against the run.
Marcus Riley I Wide Receiver
My favorite player in the class happens to be Riley. I really like his quickness and route running. Riley is listed as an athlete but UofL created a graphic showing him at wide receiver so I’m going to go with that. Riley should push for playing time in the slot with Traveon Samuel moving on. He could also be utilized in the return game.
Chandler Jones I Cornerback
Louisville needed help at cornerback next year and they were able to land one of the more highly regarded players in the class. Jones was an Under Armour All American this year and he’s top 40 at his position. Louisville has a couple of transfers coming in to fight for the starting spots at corner but I could see Jones being a depth player at the spot.
Mike Boykin I Defensive End
Boykin was originally a member of the 2016 class but had to go the JUCO route instead. He stayed loyal to the Cards and will enter the 2018 season with a very good chance of playing a big role on the defensive line. Boykin has the speed and athleticism to play at defensive end but also has the size to slide down to defensive tackle if needed. I could see BVG using him at both spots to get his best players on the field. I think it’s a safe bet that Boykin will be the “impact” recruit in this class.
Jatavious Harris I Wide Receiver
Bobby Petrino has mentioned the need for more speed on offense and Harris will provide that. At 6-3/185 Harris has the size you want outside but he also possesses the type of speed that Louisville has been missing over the last few years. If he can develop his skills as a route runner and master the little things, I could easily see him getting on the field this year.
Jared Goldwire I Defensive Tackle
Louisville was forced to hit the JUCO market for help on the defensive line after whiffing on the position last season. They were able to land a couple of really good players at the spot and Goldwire is one of them. Goldwire is a high energy tackle that can penetrate and make plays in the backfield. He’s another guy that might just fit BVG’s system better than Sirmon’s.
Allen Love I Defensive Tackle
I really enjoy watching Love’s highlights. He gives great effort and he has very good short area speed which is what you want in your interior defensive linemen. I’m not sure if Love will bulk up and be a nose or stay at tackle but I think he will be a solid player at either spot. He has a really good get off and explodes through gaps. A couple of things that the 2017 defensive line lacked.
Thurman Geathers I Outside Linebacker
Geathers is listed as a defensive end but I’d be pretty surprised if he doesn’t end up at outside linebacker. He has a long frame and good speed but I’m not sure he can put on enough weight to hold up in the trenches. I also just like him as a weakside backer that can run free a bit. Louisville has some depth issues on defense but I would think Geathers could be a redshirt candidate this year.
Tutu Atwell I Athlete
If Atwell were a handful of inches taller he’d be labeled as a quarterback and he’d have another star or two next to his name. Atwell is a really good quarterback with a big arm and the ability to make big plays with his legs. When he gets to Louisville he will likely be playing in the slot and might be used in the return game. I’d also imagine that he will redshirt his first year unless he really wows the staff this spring.
Yasir Abdullah I Outside Linebacker
No one in the class plays with the motor that Abdullah does. He is literally all over the field whenever you watch his team play. He played defensive end for his high school team but he’ll be a stand up backer at Louisville. Due to his lack of size, he’d be a prime candidate for a redshirt year but I really think he’ll end up being a guy that they have a hard time keeping off the field even if it’s just on special teams.
Jarrett Jackson I Defensive End
Jackson grew on me after I got to watch some his highlights from his senior year. I can honestly say that I didn’t get the hype before that even after FSU offered him. He’s developed some really nice pass rushing moves and can get around the edge or bull rush if needed. Jackson should do well in the new scheme as he can keep his weight around 265-270 and maintain his speed.
Jordan Travis I Quarterback
Louisville landed their QB for this class early and Travis has really improved since deciding to come to Louisville. I was really impressed with him as a junior because I really think he has a great arm and the ability to pass from the pocket. What surprised me was how good of a runner he showed he can be as a senior. He can make people miss in the open field and can get around the corner and break long runs. Bobby Petrino seems to be 100% on board with Jawon Pass taking over at quarterback so I would be surprised if Travis doesn’t redshirt, unless he surpasses Malik Cunningham as the backup.
Tyler Harrell I Wide Receiver
Harrell is another receiver that will add speed to the position group. He’s a little raw but guys that can run are a lot easier to work with than slow guys. Harrell might end up in the slot but if he puts on some weight he could end up outside once he gets on the field.
Javian Hawkins I Running Back
Louisville has really struggled with some of the players they have “reached” for over the last few years. Hawkins is a perfect example of why that will probably change with this class. Hawkins is ranked at the bottom of the class by all of the services and he’s undersized. But, he can run and he was highly productive in high school. He’s probably the fastest player in a class with multiple track guys and he fills a need at running back with his big play ability. Louisville’s class might not be too much better than the others on paper but landing guys like Hawkins at the bottom of your class shows promise.
Marlon Character I Defensive Back
UofL went after multiple corners after the early signing period and seemed to almost stumble onto Character. I’d be shocked if this kid isn’t starting against Alabama at safety or corner. I think he’s a better fit at safety in BVG’s system because he does ask his safeties to play man coverage in the slot at times. Character is a big hitter who can turn and run with receivers and he’s shown off some great ball skills. Louisville really hit a home run late in the process getting him.
I’ll update this post if Louisville adds anyone else to the class after signing day. They should still have a couple of spots left and might look to add an offensive linemen or another defensive back.