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Louisville Football Spring Football Defensive Primer

Louisville’s defense needs to take a big step forward. That starts today.

Louisville v Boston College Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Louisville has lacked experienced depth over the last few years on the defensive side of the ball. This spring will provide an opportunity for a handful of players to show what they can do to the staff. They will also have an opportunity to get more practice reps than normal and likely more reps against the first-team offense than normal. The defense has a lot of room to grow and the depth will play a role in how that growth happens.

Defensive Line

There isn’t a group on this team that gets more attention than the defensive line and it’s probably time for that attention to be positive. Mark Ivey has the depth that he’s said he’s needed in the past and there are some young players that will have to step up to get this group performing at the level it needs to.

Caleb Banks is the guy to keep an eye on, in my opinion. He’s put on a ton of weight and he’s one of the few guys that shows some good flashes in limited time last season. Ashton Gillotte had a very strong freshman season but he and Yaya Diaby will have to be more consistent this season.

Spring Depth Chart

Left End

Yaya Diaby

Victoine Brown/Mason Reiger

Nose Tackle

Caleb Banks/Dez Tell

Jared Dawson

Right End

Ashton Gillotte

Ramon Puryear

Caleb Banks, Dez Tell, and Jared Dawson have all added significant weight which is a major factor in their development and it would be great to hear that Banks can get the hype that Gillotte garnered last spring. The coaches talked up this group last offseason and they improved but not nearly to the level that was needed. They’re in a show-me scenario now and the top players have to step up.


The most talented group on the defense is the linebackers who return just about everyone outside of C.J. Avery. Momo Sanogo should pair well with Monty Montgomery after spending five years in the SEC. Yasir Abdullah is one of the best defenders in the ACC and he has a real chance to be much more effective if others around him step up. Add in Marvin Dallas and you have the potential for a group that can be full of playmakers.

What sets this group apart is the depth. Montgomery’s injury last season forced the young guys into action and they all showed the ability to play at this level. Dorian Jones, KJ Cloyd, and Jaylin Alderman will be the guys providing depth inside while Ben Perry and Kam Wilson will get a chance to show why they were the top-rated players in their respective recruiting classes.

Spring Depth Chart


Marvin Dallas

Ben Perry

Inside Linebacker

KJ Cloyd

Jaylin Alderman

Inside Linebacker

Momo Sanogo

Dorian Jones


Yasir Abdullah

Kam Wilson

Ben Perry is the most intriguing player in this group, in my opinion. He’s bulked up to about 215 pounds and he’s finally at Card which is what he was recruited to play. While Marvin Dallas had some really nice moments when he got the chance to play, I worry about his consistency. It’s a good problem to have as they will both likely see the field plenty. Kam Wilson is another guy to look out for. I think he can give them good snaps and help Abdullah stay fresh.


This spring will be big for the cornerback group with Chandler Jones being a veteran that doesn’t need a lot of reps and Tre Clark recovering from an injury. That means that Rance Conner and Derrick Edwards will get all the snaps they can handle. Trey Franklin will also get a full spring after joining the team right before last season started.

Spring Depth Chart


Chandler Jones

Derrick Edwards


Trey Franklin

Rance Conner

This group needs the time to work on their skills as well as their understanding of the defense. There’s also a chance that none of these guys will be starting in the fall. That’s not really a bad thing because this group has added a lot of depth in the transfer portal and they’re still working on adding more guys. I expect Jaylen Alexander to be up for a starting spot while Tre Clark will be healthy in the fall.

Losing Greedy Vance and Kani Walker was suboptimal but adding veteran guys with Power Five experience was very savvy of the staff. How they finish out the transfer class will be key.


UofL only lost one player here but it’s probably the one position that has no real proven depth or certainty. Kenderick Duncan will miss the spring with an injury which should give Josh Minkins a chance to truly take advantage of an offseason for the first time. Minkins had some nice moments last season but struggled in coverage and in the open field in the bowl game.

Outside of Minkins, there isn’t another player returning from last season that played recorded a stat. MJ Griffin is an impressive transfer who should fill in nicely at the strong safety spot. Who backs him up is a mystery as of now.

Spring Depth Chart

Free Safety

Josh Minkins

Seth Pugh

Strong Safety

MJ Griffin

Shavrick Williams

Griffin has a chance to be a star of the spring with no real pressure on him to win the job. He has great measurables and he’s placed among the top of the team in speed drills. Minkins can also fine-tune some thins with Duncan out and put himself in position to be a true rotation option and get more snaps this fall.


Mark Vassett came in with high expectations last year as an Australian punter with a strong pedigree. I think it’s fair to say that he didn’t deliver. Vassett has a chance to bounce back after a full year of playing the game and adjusting.

Spring Depth Chart

Mark Vassett

Brady Hodges