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The Cardinal Countdown: 9 Days Until Kickoff

Single Digits......

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Louisville v Florida Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

#9 Amari Huggins-Bruce

Class: Freshman

Ht/Wt: 5-10/160

Position: Wide Receiver

Hometown: Dillon, SC

Twitter: @ameri_huggins

Thoughts: Nothing like writing a recap on a freshman speedy slot receiver. It’s like we’re living 2014-18 all over again. I kid of course, Huggins-Bruce is only one of two receivers brought in with this class compared to the 3-4 we typically picked up each recruiting cycle under the 2.0 regime. The good news is that instead of taking risks on multiple guys the staff got a great prospect who will look to fill a void that likely can’t be replaced with only one man, it may take tutu of them (I’m sorry).

Amari is someone that Coach Brewer and Coach Satterfield targeted because they knew that Atwell only had 2020 left here in Louisville, and the guys behind him were getting older as well. The COVID year of eligibility helped balance the slot a bit more but Johnson (Day 11) and Werts (Day 5) are both Seniors so projecting into 2022 they needed to get Braden some support. The Cards snatched him away from Virginia Tech on singing day like a bully taking an old lunch pail, and Huggins-Bruce pointed at Brewer’s success with grooming guys for the league as a big reason. Amari has excellent speed and “elusiveness” as one may expect for a player with his frame. When I watched the film I like the way he was making guys miss without having to run backwards 3-4 yards or making a crazy across the field change of direction. If he’s in a 5 yard box with the defender, he gets out the box with quick movements instead of just trying to outrun everyone.

Exhibit A: He (#9 in black) scored a TD on this play

Exhibit B: He (#9 in black) scored a TD on this play

For anyone expecting AHB or Braden to step up and fill in the production left by Tutu let me go ahead and tell you your expectations are unrealistic, but I do think between the two of them they can make a big impact in that slot position in 2021. Moving into the next couple years as Amari learns the offense, the playbook, and the staff figures out exactly how to use him, he could be another high level player in that offense

Sweet Tweet:

….Hard hands no bands, weak arms closes farms, clean routes crowd shouts, thick legs ma-….ok, I’m done.

***

#9 CJ Avery

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 5-11/227

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Grenada, MS

Twitter: @Averyy_Sports

Thoughts: After completing a lackluster season overall in 2020 the Cards, and fans alike, got a major boost for the upcoming season days after the season wrapped when CJ Avery announced that he would return for his fifth season and lead a Louisville defense who is on the rise. While one player doesn’t make or break a season, Avery was number 1 and 2 on my list of guys I was hoping would come back, as he is such a big part of what they were building the last couple years. Hopefully we can watch him walk out of the program turning one of the worst defenses in the country into a Top 25 threat.

If you’re reading this you are not only aware of Avery but probably know him pretty well. The linebacker out of Grenada came in as a freshman and got into all 13 games, grabbing over 20 tackles and picking up a fumble that season. He was prime for a big leap in 2018 and he did just that, positioning himself as one of the best players on that side of the ball in a season where they needed about 4-5 more of him. His rise over the last two years has absolutely been impacted by Coach Brown and his scheme but Avery was a great player even under sub-par coaching. As a Sophomore Avery finished second overall in tackles but mixed in a cornucopia of defensive stats (TFL, sacks, PBU, FF,INT) to showcase his all around skill and athleticism. As a Junior he repeated these efforts but this time was the teams leading tackler. Last year he lead the team in tackles once again and stacked up more INTs, TFLs, Sacks, PBUs, FFs, QB hurries…should I keep going?

Avery is a guy who will not only lead on the field but teach off the field, and having KJ, Dorian, Monty, and others he can feed into is unmeasurable this year for what they can pick up to use in 2022 and beyond. Couldn’t more excited to watch him come out an ball again.

Sweet Tweet:

Is it weird to hang a photo up in your home that not only does not include youself but also does not include anyone you know personally? That smile, the hair, that proper technique of throwing up the “L”…..that Marshon Ford is one bad man. I know, I know, I buried the lead. Sorry CJ, you’re looking dapper as well my man, digging the suit. Stash fresh out there (also pictured Katie George).