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The Cardinal Countdown: 41 Days Until Kickoff

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NCAA Football: Virginia at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

#41 Isaac Martin

Class: RS Freshman

Ht/Wt: 6-1/247

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Louisville, KY (Product of Trinity High School)

Twitter: @IkeMan98

Thoughts: Isaac joined the program last year as a preferred walk-on out of Trinity High School. Martin was recruited by the Grantham brothers (which seems like about 5 years ago) and performed well enough at the Louisville camps that the staff decided to keep in touch with him even as coaching turnover took place. Martin saw the new staff as a good opportunity to establish himself, knowing that everyone would be learning a new system from Day 1. Having been a Louisville fan his whole life the staff didn’t have to do a ton of convincing to get Isaac on board with what was happening at Louisville. Not only did he have extended family members that have played or coached on the team (Greg Nord/Nate Nord/Rick Nord) but he also has a brother currently on the roster as well (Max Martin).

Martin was a solid piece of the Trinity defense back in 2016, grabbing 43 tackles and 5 sacks in his senior season, helping lead the Rocks to another state title. Martin took a redshirt last year and will look for a chance to extend his role beyond the practice squad in 2018. As I’ve touched on before we have some solid talent at our starting linebacker spots but could use another two or three guys to step into reliable secondary players at the position. Martin will fight for that chance this season and potentially look to move into that spot or beyond in 2019.

Sweet Tweet:

I mean….the official roster has him at 6-1….247……I’m calling B.S. Petrino.

***

#41 Michael Boykin

Class: RS Sophomore

Ht/Wt: 6-6/302

Position: Defensive Line

Hometown: Carrollton, GA

Twitter: @official46plus1

Thoughts: The story of Mike Boykin is a rather large one, quite fitting I guess for the 6-6 300 plus pounder. Mike was a big Louisville target and committed out of high school back in 2015. The Cards picked up the uber-talented defensive lineman, considered Top 50 at his position nationally, after he spurned offers from Auburn, Alabama, FSU, and a host of others. Boykin signed with the Cards on NSD in early 2016 and things appeared to be golden. Until they weren’t. May came, then June, then July, and no mention of Boykin had been made and he was nowhere to be seen on campus. It wasn’t until early August, almost exactly one month before the season that fans learned Boykin had been declared ineligible and wouldn’t suit for the Cards in 2016. For such a big get to fall through that late in the process was disappointing to the fan base and many assumed that Boykin would never step foot on Louisville’s campus again. Until he did.

Competing for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 2016 Boykin was looking to pick up where he left of in high school. Playing in six games Boykin grabbed 15 tackles and was quite the force up on the line at the JUCO level. As did many of his teammates, Boykin viewed MGCCC as a temporary spot and was looking to get back to the D-I level as quickly as possible, which included taking some recruiting visits before the 2017 season was to begin. One of those spots just so happened to be the school he originally committed to in the Cards. The staff had never lost touch with him and put on the press once again when they determined he was likely going to eligible in 2018. Boykin, it seemed, had never wavered. Not long after the recruiting process started he reconfirmed his commitment to the Cards and started focusing on his next step. Sitting out the 2017 season for personal reasons (which he described as getting back in shape, training, working on his craft, etc) Boykin will actually come into the program as a RS Sophomore with three years of eligibility left, a huge bonus for Louisville who essentially only lost one season of production from a young man they think can make a quick impact.

Boykin’s story in general is a bit convoluted, but his story as a Cardinal is just beginning. Petrino and BVG have both highlighted his aggressiveness up front this past spring and his ability to get into the backfield with consistency. In 2016 many thought Michael was a surefire starter as a true freshman, with his size and skill translating well to the college game. In 2018 those two things, by all accounts, are still present in his bag of tricks and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see him run out with the first team against the Tide Week 1.

It didn’t all go as planned, but things rarely ever do and I’m excited to see Boykin make an impact in 2018 and beyond.

Sweet Tweet:

Mike is sad because he hasn’t had a chance to watch the third season of ‘Last Chance U’ yet on Netflix. Me either Mike, me either. Wife, kids, work...don’t they understand? My new “football is right around the corner” annual tradition has GOT to happen this week. JUCO football with crazy coaches, crazy fans, and guys battling back to D-I ball......pump it in my veins.