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The Cardinal Countdown: 11 Days Until Kickoff

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TaxSlayer Bowl - Mississippi State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

#11 Nick Okeke

Class: RS Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/240

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Smyrna, TN

Twitter: @nickokeke

Thoughts: Okeke is probably one of the more underappreciated linebackers on the team. Ask around and folks will bring up Burns, Etheridge, Avery, maybe even an Abdullah, but the depth Okeke provides on the outside is crucial to the defense making a big step forward in the next couple seasons.

Okeke played in eleven games last year, including a couple starts early in the season, and he finished with 24 tackles, a sack, and a QB hurry. Beyond the stat line though he improved significantly in his coverage ability and maintains a close gap between himself and Abdullah meaning the dropoff is negligible in most areas. While I’m a big Yasir guy I’m not nervous when Okeke is out there and the staff has shown they aren’t either as the two continue to battle during the fall. I really like his size on the outside opposite the “Card” position (Burns) and I think he makes a few big plays this year when called upon.

Sweet Tweet:

Dude, this was on January 26th…..wait until you see what happens February through August.

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#11 Josh Johnson

Class: RS Junior

Ht/Wt: 5-11/187

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Twitter: @josh_johnson234

Thoughts: You have to feel for Johnson coming into his fourth season as a Cardinal. The Top 100 wideout nationally out of high school came out fast as a freshman in 2017, pulling in a few catches his first year but more impressively seeing action in a couple phases 10 out of the 13 games played. In 2018 Johnson took a Redshirt and then last year suffered an ACL tear that kept him out the majority of the season. It’s been a minute since JJ saw live action or was even available to do so. While players heal or work to get better, they get recruited over, and sometimes it can be tough to get back in the swing.

Johnson has the speed to play and showed flashes in 2017 of what he can do, but if he’s playing predominantly in the slot how do you justify pulling a Tutu or newly acquired Braden Smith off the field? It’s tough for the staff when you have offensive weapons falling out of your pockets at specific positions. Coach Brewer said JJ was getting some reps on the outside just as another way for him to get PT although the cupboard certainly isn’t bare in those spots either. I liked Joshnson when he came in and think he can provide some solid depth in 2020 and maybe have a shot in 2021 to get some reps as Tutu likely departs for the next level. Hopefully Josh can stay healthy, keep grinding, and we see him make some plays the next couple seasons.

Sweet Tweet:

Eleven games, ten games, fans, no fans, football, no football. We’ll power through no matter what happens. Tomorrow starts the ten day countdown to something, I’m preparing myself for everything……including bees. Lots of bees.