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Wynnedbag Wish List: Defense

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NCAA Football: Eastern Kentucky at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville has started off the 2021 recruiting class with some very nice additions on the defensive side of the ball. They still have plenty of work to do to get to where they want to be from a depth standpoint. They also have the potential to elevate the level of talent at some positions and I think they could do so.

I compiled my list of offensive players on my wish list the other day in case you missed it.

DEFENSIVE END

ASHTON GILLOTTE - Louisville will likely take four defensive linemen in this class as they are likely losing three guys and they still want to add depth. Gillotte is a player who recently picked up an offer and seems to have made a decision to pick a school pretty shortly after. I tend to think he’ll be picking Louisville but I do wonder if Rhyeem Craig’s commitment may have changed things. That might be on his end but could also be on the Louisville end. If they plan on taking a specific number of guys, they could be holding a spot for later in the process after players can take visits. Just a possibility, but the numbers factor will be something to keep an eye on as players keep committing at the insane pace they are around the country.

Gillotte is a super productive player who is very similar to Craig in a lot of ways. He’s very good at pursuing the football and plays with an intense motor. He’s also 6-4 with long limbs so adding bulk won’t be a problem. I think UofL is in good shape to get his commitment soon.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

BARRYN SORRELL - Sorrell is listed as a defensive end but at 6-4/250 he fits the mold of a guy that Louisville could bring in to play at tackle once he adds weight. He’s not an explosive player off the edge like some of the other targets but he pursues the ball really well and he looks the part on his snaps playing inside. I was also impressed watching some 1-on-1 drills that he did at camps last year because he had a good amount of different moves in his arsenal. Young players don’t always know how to do much other than use their size. It’s always nice to see guys this young use legit moves.

Sorrell hasn’t tipped his hand as to who he will be committing to but my personal guess is that Baylor is the team to beat.

LINEBACKERS

CHRISTOPHER PAUL - I think that Louisville will take four linebackers in this class but it’s been pretty hard to track who they’re recruiting for which positions. Paul is the only player listed as a middle linebacker that I would really love to see in this class. He’s currently committed to Nebraska but if you read the tea leaves, it’s obvious that UofL is recruiting him and that he’s at least somewhat receptive.

Paul has good size at 6-1/235 even though he doesn’t have great length. He’s exactly the type of linebacker I like because he closes on the ball in a flash and he arrives with bad intentions. My hope is that the potential for early playing time will help Louisville here but pulling a kid away from a program like Nebraska isn’t all that simple.

JARAYE WILLIAMS - Good luck trying to figure out what position Williams would play at Louisville. He could play either safety spot, either outside linebacker spot, or he may even end up at middle linebacker. Louisville wants to add speed to the defense so I think he’ll end up at one of the linebacker spots but I think his frame sets him up to maybe be able to play inside. I honestly don’t even care where he ends up because I think he’ll be a high level player wherever it is.

Williams has the potential to be a “defensive weapon” type of player that Isaiah Simmons was for Clemson. I’m not comparing their abilities but their frame and athleticism gives coaches some unique options that you don’t have with other players. He would be the gem of the recruiting class if he picks Louisville, which I think he will.

JACKSON HAMILTON - Louisville is looking for longer athletes that will be able to add bulk but I still would love for Hamilton to be in this class as a potential “Dog” linebacker. Hamilton does have long arms but he’s just 6-0/200 and you have to wonder if he can get to the weight you want as a guy who will be going up against bigger tight ends and offensive tackles.

With that being said, I love his game. He covers ground quickly and he tackles in the open field exceptionally well. I can’t get a read at all on his recruitment but it doesn’t seem like anyone has an edge right now.

CORNERBACK

DERRICK EDWARDS - Rumor has it that Edwards was ready to commit a few weeks back but for whatever reason he didn’t pull the trigger. Nothing else has really happened in his recruitment so I’m wondering if it’s possible that he made a silent commitment. My guess is that he’ll be a part of this class either way but it’s never great when a kid changes their mind like he did.

Edwards does just about everything for his defense in high school. He can play safety, corner, or rover but I think he fits as a corner with Louisville. He has long arms and plays with a lot of aggression. I think that’s the type that they’re looking for at corner.

DA’QUAN GONZALES - Louisville recently offered Gonzales and I still remember my reaction when I checked his highlights. This kid can really play. He’s an aggressive cover corner with good ball skills and he gets after it as a tackler. I also love his ability as a return man. Gonzales is also one of the many recruits that Louisville is targeting that has multiple Ivy League offers. “The complete package” is a silly cliche but there’s not much not to like about this kid.

Gonzales picked up 13 power five offers in about a month and Louisville was the last of those offers. I don’t think the timing matters much but that amount of offers will likely lead to him taking his time before he does anything.

RICARDO HALLMAN - I tend to think that UofL will only take two corners in the class but they’re fairly thin right now and they should have enough room to take three guys at the position. Hallman is a guy that seems to be very into Louisville based on his Twitter profile. While that doesn’t tell me everything, it’s typically meaningful as teams are bombarding recruits with graphics and edits. I get the feeling that Louisville will be a “first come, first served” situation at corner as they have a lot of offers out and it’s the one spot on the defensive side of the ball where there doesn’t seem to be a lot of traction.

Hallman is a really good cover corner with nice ball skills and good speed. He may be lacking as a tackler but I’ll take that as a possible issue over anything else at corner. I think that Edwards and Hallman could end up being the two guys in this class and I’d imagine Bryan Brown would be really happy with that outcome.

SAFETY

TJ QUINN - Quinn is the best tackling high school football player that I can remember. Lots of high school kids get guys to the ground but Quinn brings his entire body and wraps up consistently. He can also play the ball well over the top. I would think that would me he would be a fit for the free safety spot in Bryan Brown’s defense. Khane Pass wasn’t used in man coverage all that often last year and Quinn seems to fit that mold.

Virginia Tech was the obvious leader for Quinn before he was offered but he has made it clear that he has more to think about now. His dad played for Louisville back in the early 90’s and he is currently his coach in high school. With the opportunity to compete for playing time early and his dad’s connection to the school, I think that Louisville has a realistic shot here.

JEFFERY BASSA - Louisville is recruiting players all over the country and Bassa is one of the most interesting prospects as he’s from Utah and it seems like he might be one of the more underrated players in this class. Bassa is a track guy who also happens to be 6-3/204 and that track speed shows up on the field. Cort Dennison is recruiting him so it’s likely that he is being recruited as a linebacker but this is my list and I think he’d be great as a rangy free safety.

Bassa is a bit raw as a player but my thinking is that he’d be able to develop with coaching because he’s so raw. He’s a long athlete who should be able to add bulk but I do wonder if he can stay in the 210-215 range while keeping his speed. If that’s the case I would love to see him in that free safety role.