Louisville football added to the 2022 transfer class today with Nicario Harper committing to the Cards. Harper is a transfer from Jacksonville State who was one of the top defenders at the FCS level in the 2021 spring season. He was a finalist for the Buck Buchanon award which is given to the top defensive player in the country. Harper was also named an All-American by four different services and he was the defensive player of the year in the OVC. His accolades are impressive and his game reminds me, in some ways, of Qwynnterrio Cole. Harper started his career at Southern Miss before moving on to Jacksonville State.
Harper has good size at 6-1/205 and I really like his ability to close on the football with good speed. He doesn’t have great “long” speed but he gets to the ball carrier really quickly and he is a strong tackler. UofL needs guys who can play downhill and make plays against the run and in the short passing game. I do have some concerns with his ability to play the pass down the field as he doesn’t have any available highlights that show him making those plays and he only had 4 PBUs over the last two seasons. However, he did have 5 interceptions so there is a possibility that his numbers are low due to opportunity.
UofL has a real depth issue in the secondary and that has been exasperated by the fact that they’ve lost two transfers. But, the safety position wasn’t deep enough last year and the staff had to move Chandler Jones to strong safety to provide an option to backup Cole. With Harper joining the team, they now have four experienced safeties as well as some younger guys who will join the team this summer. There is still some work to do, but the staff has to be happy with the infusion of talent and experience that they’ve added through the portal.