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The Cardinal Countdown: 21 Days Until Kickoff

Louisville v Cincinnati Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

#21 London Iakopo

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-0/206

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Carson, CA

Twitter: @iakopo_london21

Thoughts: I called London “the forgotten one” last year at this time. A four star talent out of the JUCO ranks back in 2016 London came into the program and was playing well a few games into his first season with the Cards. Known for his physicality and “hit stick” aggressiveness Iakokpo was looking like a solid two year contributor, and then, just a few games into the season a dreaded ACL tear made him hang up the cleats before he could make a big impact.

After a full recovery London was getting nary a mention during the summer of 2017 and shocked quite a few casual fans when he popped up as the #1 outside linebacker on the first depth chart. The resilient, aggressive, and “forgotten” linebacker was in prime position to make an impact once again. In the first four games of the season London grabbed a handful of tackles (8) and a big sack against Clemson, before things got out of hand…

(I believe that was one of three blitz calls from Sirmon the entire season)

The problem for London last year was little to do with his performance and more so the overachievement from true freshman Dorian Etheridge on the outside. Etheridge played better than even his most staunch supporter could have ever envisioned, finishing the season as the team’s leading tackler (83) who made his presence known early and often in 2017. The good news for Iakopo is that with the departure of Stacy Thomas, Trevon Young, James Hearns, and Isaac Stewart the opportunity to get reps is certainly available. Many assume the Cards have a couple starters penciled in already but with BVG running a typical 4-3 there is another position open and plenty of chances for London to get starter equivalent PT in his senior season. The aggressive and physical play of Iakopo has to get a coach like BVG all hot and bothered thinking about how he could use him in his defense this coming season and I would be stunned if he isn’t getting his named called often in blitz packages or sliding him down into the box in run situations.

The injury certainly hurt in 2016 and the emergence of Etheridge limited his opportunity to shine in 2017, but I think 2018 is the year we see the London Iakopo many expected when he stepped on campus two years ago.

Sweet Tweet:

“Hey, there’s even a cupholder! You can put cans of be-….soda in there.”