#3 Micale Cunningham
Class: RS Junior
Hometown: Montgomery, AL
Thoughts: Micale comes into his fourth year in the program as the clear starter at QB for season two of the Satterfield offense. At this point last year Cunningham was not only the backup QB but he also had a different name…life comes at you fast.
Cunningham was by no means a fresh face in 2019 as he played in 10 games the season prior. The noticeable difference between the two seasons was confidence. Micale stood in the pocket longer, didn’t fold under pressure, and made plays on third downs to keep the drive alive. While not without error, Cunningham played like one of the best QBs in the country last year dropping over 2,000 yards passing, nearly 500 yards on the ground, and 28 total touchdowns. ‘Stadium’ put together a quick highlight tape of 2019 that honestly could have been three times as long with all the plays he made last year, but pretty entertaining as is…
Micale certainly showed the skill last year to successfully lead the offense and with a slightly bigger playbook in 2020 I can only imagine some of the opportunities he may have with all his shiny weapons from last year still in place and some new players added in the mix like Braden Smith and Jordan Watkins, all ready to create problems for opposing defenses. A shortened season will skew the stats a bit but I think we see similar numbers from Cunningham this season even with a non-conference opponent removed from the schedule. Outside of the guy who many consider to be the consensus #1 NFL draft pick in the spring (Lawrence) I’m not trading my QB for anyone else in the conference. For those who may have forgot, here is a quick recap of some stats from last year where Cunningham fell one pass short of qualifying for the national rankings…
- QB Rating of 194.44 would place him at #1 in the ACC and #2 nationally
- Completion percentage of 62.6% places him at #5 in the ACC
- Rushing yards per game for a QB (40.17) places him at #4 in the ACC
- Touchdown to Interception ratio (4.4) places him at #4 in the ACC and #16 nationally.
- His 482 rushing yards in 2019 puts him at 5th all-time for single season (QB) at UofL. He also holds onto 4th place for his 2018 effort (497).
- His 979 total career rushing yards already places him at #2 all-time (QB) at UofL.
- His 6 rushing TDs in 2019 puts him tied for 5th all-time (QB) for a single season. He also owns the 6th place spot for his total in 2018 (5).
- His 11 total career rushing TDs puts him in a tie for 2nd all-time (QB) behind only Lamar.
- If he qualified (1 attempt short) his QB rating (194.44) would be #1 all-time at UofL
Braces off finally— Malik Cunningham (@MalikMalikc10) July 16, 2020
If I recall, Lamar had his braces taken off prior to his Junior season…and then put up BETTER numbers than he did during his Heisman campaign of 2016. No pressure.
#3 Russ Yeast
Position: Defensive Back
Hometown: Danville, KY
Thoughts: For those who may not remember Russ was having a solid season last year at safety before it was cut short prematurely against Syracuse. A knee injury not only knocked him against the Orange but also kept him out of the Kentucky game, the bowl game against Mississippi State, and all of the limited spring practices. A rehabbing Yeast took that setback and time off the field as an opportunity to develop another part of his game. The mental aspect.
Yeast spoke with Sports Illustrated back in July about taking advantage of being on the sideline to help lead some of the younger players in the secondary and spend his time in the playbook instead of being on the field. Those metal reps could prove to be a big advantage for Yeast who has not only worked his way back to being healthy enough to play, but to earn his starting spot back at safety.
The journey for Yeast has been a interesting story, from committing to the rival of his father’s alma mater, to changing positions a couple seasons into his career, to an injury forcing him to miss sixth months of action. A brief “toe dip” into the transfer discussion prior to last season is about the only time I haven’t seen Yeast going full throttle for Louisville since he arrived, and even that decision at the time, before talking with any of the coaches was understandable. The secondary this year has some backup with a few new faces in the room and the upperclassmen like Yeast will be leaders both on and off the field. I’m looking forward to seeing Yeast finish up his career healthy, in a position that suits his talents, but most importantly, as a Cardinal.
So motivated— Russ Yeast (@russ_yeast03) April 25, 2020
Fighting back from an injury is always a challenge, but fighting back, during a global pandemic, to the point where you can not only compete but also be considered the expected starter at your position is pretty dang impressive. #uKNEEquelyQualified #ActiveYeastWillRise