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The Cardinal Countdown: 11 Days Until Kickoff

Florida International v Louisville Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images

#11 Nick Okeke

Class: RS Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/240

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Smyrna, TN

Twitter: @nickokeke

Thoughts: When talking about the linebackers this year there is some added depth for sure at the position compared to seasons past. Nick is not likely to be a starter but that’s “oh-KAY-kay” because it sounds like he may be the number one reserve across the board.

We’ve seen the growth from Nick over the last few seasons after his redshirt as he mixed it up on defense and special teams for the last three years and slowly morphed into a fifth starter for that group in 2021. While there was no doubt Okeke would get reps outside behind Yasir we heard as recently as last week that we was getting reps at the ‘mike’ position inside and was a probably a backup there as well. The 6-3/240 young man from Smyrna has had some moments for sure that make you sit back in your seat a bit. Here’s a few in the clip below…

If you didn’t catch the joke above the official roster says his name is pronounced oh-KAY-kay, not oh-KEY-key, so everyone who says that way is wrong (hand up). But one thing we’re not wrong about is his ability to make plays and create disruption at or behind the line of scrimmage. While we hope for a healthy 2021 it’s nice to know we have an experienced player who is capable of filling in more than one spot when needed.

Sweet Tweet:

Came in 2019, ain’t playing games with you…..two years later, still ready to cause problems when necessary. #gameface

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#11 Josh Johnson

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 5-11/187

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Twitter: @josh_johnson234

Thoughts: There are some guys on this countdown who I thought “wow, can’t believe they’re a senior already” as we’ve watched them develop and become major contributors in what seems like such a short time. In almost the exact opposite of that scenario I saw Josh was a senior and thought “wow, can’t believe he’s a senior already” as I feel like we’ve been playing the “next year” or “when he get’s healthy” game with him over and over again. I hope this year we finally see it.

Josh was a nice get back in 2017 and came in and made a bit of a splash playing in ten games on offense and special teams and grabbed three balls for 52 yards. Then he took a redshirt, then had a ACL tear, and we had to wait and wait for him to get back to 100%. He got some early PT in 2020 on special teams but didn’t get his first catch until the Syracuse contest, nine games into the season. If you listen to Gunter and Satterfield Josh is a baller, and a “Swiss army knife” they can put anywhere on the field. He’s currently listed as a backup for Braden but this year I think we do actually see him with some type of regularity. He’s got good speed and good hands and from the small sample size we have he appears to be reliable. I’m just waiting for the first time he goes for 80 yards and a touch and folks start to check that roster and think…“wow, can’t believe he’s a senior already”.

Sweet Tweet:

JJ made Cardinal History last season being the first Cardinal ever to suit up in the number “0” jersey. The NCAA made a rule change in 2020 to make that number eligible and JJ was forced to make a jersey switch while on special teams to avoid a penalty for having duplicate numbers on the field together (Okeke). JJ kept number eleven this year but newcomer Derrick Edwards will take advantage of the new rule and wear “0” in 2021.