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Louisville Football Recruiting Update

Louisville will be bringing in a small class this year so let’s take a look at how they can finish strong.

Louisville v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I would typically take a look at football recruiting during the season but as we saw last year, the new early signing period really changed things in recruiting. The vast majority of Louisville’s class signed in December and that was the trend nationwide. So it only makes sense that I give an update about five months out from signing day.

Louisville is about halfway done with their class so let’s take a look at some of the guys they could land to finish the class on a high note.

As always, the links are to the 247 composite profiles. You can find UofL’s current class here.

THE MUST GETS

These are the guys that I think UofL has to get to maintain the string of solid to strong recruiting that the program has seen over the last eight years or so.

MILTON WRIGHT - WIDE RECEIVER

Like 2013, Louisville has a chance to get an elite local receiver to join the fold. Wright is a big time playmaker that has the size and speed to play outside as well as the athletic ability to play inside in Louisville’s scheme.

RAYMOND WOODIE - SAFETY

Woodie has an interesting connection to Kentucky as his father was a coach at Western Kentucky not long ago. However, he is now the linebackers coach at Florida State and he happens to be one of their top recruiters. While I don’t think that he ends up here, UofL is a legit contender to land Woodie.

ADONIS OTEY - DEFENSIVE BACK

Not too many guys look the part on every play you watch them but Otey fits that bill. He isn’t the flashiest player. His athleticism isn’t off the charts. He just does everything right. He reminds me of Trenell Troutman, only at cornerback. UofL seems to be in the lead to land Otey and I think he’s the type of player that can come in and contribute early.

J.J. WEAVER - DEFENSIVE END

A few months ago, Weaver would’ve been the guy that was tabbed as “underrated” but his recent performances on the camp circuit have earned him four-star status. He has the perfect size at 6-6/240 and he has shown that he is more than an just an athlete with advanced pass rushing moves and the ability to anticipate and set up blockers. I personally think that Weaver is the best overall talent that Louisville is going after. I’d even go as far as to say that, if he ends up here, he would the best defensive prospect coming out of high school that Louisville has landed since Keith Brown. Weaver won’t commit until late in the fall so there’s no knowing what he will do. Purdue looks to be the main competition with Miami being a sleeper pick.

THE FINISH

This group includes guys that I think Louisville could get that would really help the class finish strong.

JARED CASEY - MIDDLE LINEBACKER

Casey is another local kid that flew under the radar until camp season arrived. He missed a lot of time due to injury so the jury is still out a bit on him. I think that he will have a really strong senior year at Ballard if he can stay healthy this year. Casey’s best asset is his closing speed. If you go back and look at some of the best that have played linebacker at UofL you’ll see how important that skill is. Preston Brown, Keith Kelsey, and James Burgess all closed on the ball very well and their lack of “track speed” was negated. We’ll have to wait to see how his recruitment picks up but Louisville definitely has a good shot here.

AUSTIN GRIFFIN - TIGHT END

Louisville has two tight ends in the class but I think that they could move Jeremiah Pruitte to Outside Linebacker if they were to land Griffin. 247 is the only service that has evaluated him and they put him at the top of their list of JUCO tight ends. Although he doesn’t have much film or stats to go off of, Griffin is the prototype when it comes to size and he has good speed for the position. He’s also a little bit older so his body has matured and his approach is likely what you would want as a coach. Unless some of the top programs out west decide to extend and offer, I would expect UofL to get their guy here.

TONY MATHIS - RUNNING BACK

It has been really nice to see Louisville target backs that aren’t all 220-plus pounds and Mathis is another in a line of smaller, faster backs. Louisville already has Aidan Robbins in the fold and Mathis’ recruitment has been very quiet but if there is a spot open for him, Mathis would be a very nice player that fits what Louisville is doing with a throwback to the plan of having a bigger back and a smaller back to go to.

SHAWNKEL KNIGHT-GOFF - DEFENSIVE END/OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

If it seemed like I was overly excited about J.J. Weaver above, I’m going to sound like a full on fanboy about Knight-Goff. In my opinion, he’s the exact type of player that Louisville has to land. Not because he’s a local kid but because he checks off all of the boxes when you look for upside. He has the frame to add bulk. He has the length to excel at his position as an edge player. He has athleticism that can be molded. He is the “three star talent” that folks talk about all of the time when it comes to Bobby Petrino’s recruiting and development. Louisville won’t always get the four-stars and elite players but they have to identify the guys that fall in just under that threshold. I believe Knight-Goff is exactly that.

POSSIBLE OPTIONS

A mix of guys that have shown interest in some way. Some are long shots while others could be in the group above.

MELVIN McBRIDE - OFFENSIVE GUARD

McBride is one of the offensive linemen that Louisville is trying to land even though they have three commits on the offensive line. I’d also keep an eye out for ANTHONY WHIGAN and CHIBUEZE NWANNA. Both are JUCO players that are strong prospects that would add quality depth in my opinion. McBride’s recruitment is heating up but he could easily be the next commitment in the class if Louisville decides to take a fourth lineman.

MAX WILLIAMS - CORNERBACK

I don’t think UofL has much of a chance of landing the west coast prospect but getting him on campus this spring was important. Recruits talk to each other a lot these days and sometimes it is helpful to have a top prospect share good things about their visit even if they don’t commit. My hope is that this is the case with Williams. USC looks to be the team in the driver’s seat but crazier things have happened and with Williams visiting schools all over the country, UofL is definitely in the running.

BRIEON FULLER - WIDE RECEIVER

Louisville has a handful of wide receivers that they are in the running for. Fuller just happens to be my favorite outside of Milton Wright. Numbers factor in a lot when it comes to some of these positions so I’m not sure that they will take two receivers when they have two tight ends and potentially two running backs in the class. However, Petrino isn’t the type to pass on adding talent on the offensive side of the ball so Fuller is a guy that I’m keeping an eye on. Others at receiver include KENNY LOGAN (ATH), and MYLES FARMER (ATH).