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The Cardinal Countdown: 23 Days Until Kickoff

Louisville v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

#23 KJ Cloyd

Class: Sophomore

Ht/Wt: 6-2/215

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Columbia, MS

Twitter: @Kj_Cloyd

Thoughts: For those who may have forgotten the Cards grabbed Cloyd late in the process last year and didn’t get him on campus until summer of 2020 out of JUCO. If Covid concerns weren’t enough, Cloyd didn’t get a ton of time to acclimate to the system and get his feet muddy in the middle either. But, even with that said Cloyd came in as a Top 3 JUCO inside backer and was looking to compete. Brown loved what he saw, even if he wasn’t dialed in with the playbook just yet, so KJ got some special teams opportunities early and the ‘dog’ was let off the leash.

Cloyd played in all eleven games last year but didn’t see significant defensive reps until later in the season. Specifically in the games against Virginia and Syracuse Cloyd showed flashes of a guy who can be a big contributor in the middle behind CJ this year and possibly as a starter in seasons to come. While the ILB often gets the ‘big body-big hit’ reputation (and Coach Brown did label him a thumper last year) Cloyd has some run-flat Yokohama’s in his cleats as well, because he can go go go when asked to get to a spot. I peeped the wheels last year on a tweet he sent out and he wasn’t lying about the speed. Another year under the wing of CJ Avery can only do good things for him and I look forward to seeing him develop in 2021.

Sweet Tweet:

Shout out to the staff working up some fire in the kitchen. I’ve seen some of the clips from the football account and they look like they are being well fed for sure. I just imagine myself in that spot in college. Noodles, Totino’s, and hamburger helper got pretty old. The problem is I was not burning 200-300 calories a day like these guys so I would have likely been pushing three bills before I hit my Sophomore year. Freshman fifteen fifty.

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#23 Trevion Cooley

Class: Freshman

Ht/Wt: 5-10/200

Position: Running back

Hometown: Knightdale, NC

Twitter: @TrevionCooley

Thoughts: If you walk up and ask “Mr/Ms Casual Fan” about impact freshman in 2021 you may get a few Ben Perry’s, recently you’d likely hear Ashton Gillotte’s name, but I’d assume pretty high on that list still is Trevion Cooley. For those who don’t follow recruiting closely and still haven’t jumped face first into their football prep Cooley was a consensus four star running back who the Cards fought hard for and ended up beating out the likes of Florida, Duke, Tennessee, and a late offer from Georgia. We can talk “stars don’t matter” and “we recruit to fit our system” all you want, but if we’re given the choice I’m more often than not going to pick the four star kid being pursued by playoff contenders than the “looks like a good fit” 2 star. Cooley is that dude.

I watched Cooley in the clip below and skimmed some of his other film and he looks legit to my untrained eye. While this would typically be the time one would drop a “he plays like a…(insert former Cardinal)” I’m going to hold off on the comparison because I feel as if that persons success or failures are then cast upon Cooley instead of it just being a comparison of style of play. So I’m gonna keep my mouth shut….

While the summer depth chart had Cooley as a fourth string back I really couldn't envision him being any higher than third heading into fall. We know Hall and Mitchell are the heads of the monster right now and Burkley showed flashes as well. Often times with the big name or high ceiling recruit we want to get them in and force them to show out in week one, but if we have able bodies and strong backs in that spot, let him breath it in, gets some reps, and then bust on the scene when folks are least expecting it. I don’t think Cooley is all flash with no pop, but I also don’t think he’s our #1 this season either. If he can be that filler or situational player this year I think that sets him up nicely for a 2022 run at the throne.

Sweet Tweet:

I don’t get wrapped up in social media hype to much, but when I want to I can let it convince me some big stuff is going to happen. This tweet and then the following tweet where he says he’s hopping off until after fall camp makes me think his head is in it early, and he just may prove me wrong about what I think his role is in 2021.