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The Cardinal Countdown: 9 Days Until Kickoff

Oregon State Beavers v Louisville Cardinals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

2021 Season Recap: The hype surrounding Gillotte last year, as a true freshman looking to crack the rotation along the line, was going to be tough to live up to. Coming in with zero college reps under his belt in the spring Gillotte turned heads early and many thought he might see some playing time sooner than later. They would be correct. Ashton played in all 13 games last season and even grabbed four starts up along the line based upon his performance throughout the year. Finishing the season with 19 tackles, 8 TFL, 4 sacks, and 3 QB hurries Ashton was doing a good job at rushing the passer and creating big plays behind the line, especially for a guy who was adjusting to adding some major weight to his frame from high school and to the college game in general. An amazing start to his career.

2022 Season Outlook: So what happens when a true freshman comes in and plays really well? Expectations are raised another notch. Gillotte to his credit has not shied away from those expectations and his name keeps coming up all off-season as a guy who continues to put in the work and make plays. While the S&C coach may have changed, the effort in that arena for Ashton has not, as he is consistently putting up stupid numbers in the gym and showing off his pure strength to everyone who cares to watch, and one of those watching is Bruce Feldman, who put Gillotte back on his ‘Freak List’ again in 2022, showcasing the top ‘freak athletes’ in the sport of college football. Ashton, surprising no one, was named a starter at the beginning of fall camp and I expect him to hold onto that spot as Week 1 kicks off. While I get nervous putting too much pressure on a Sophomore looking to repeat a great freshman season, I honestly believe Ashton can far exceed the numbers we saw last season in terms of havoc and disruption in the backfield with the assistance of Yaya and Lole on the line. Really excited about seeing what the boys can do in the trenches this year, and Ashton is a huge part of those expectations. Do not be shocked to see Gillotte end up on some All-ACC teams when the season wraps.

Sweet Tweet:

This is Ashton, who would later go on to Power Clean 390lbs like the next day, cheering on Lole who just threw a freaking baby grand piano on his back like it was a Cocomelon backpack. These guys are throwing around weight like it’s nothing, and that makes me very excited to see what they can do against these poor offensive lineman who don’t know what’s coming.


2021 Season Recap: If you came to read this post because you wanted to catch up on freshman who were looking to meet high expectations in year one, then congratulations, because we’re doubling down. Ahmari came into the program looking to be a Tutu type replacement in the slot and he delivered fairly well on that promise. The speedster from South Carolina came in and played in all 13 games, finishing the season third in receptions (29), fourth in receiving yardage (444), and tied for second in receiving TDs (4). Going for 444 and 4 touchdowns may sound like a Wendy’s meal, but AHB had me thinking “I’m Lovin It” as the McFreshman came out hot with 6 grabs and nearly 170 yards in the first two games alone. A freshman mistake against EKU (dropped TD) may have put him in the doghouse for a bit but he came back strong towards the end of the season including a breakout game against Cuse. “Higgins”-Bruce had such a nice game against Syracuse he was named ACC Freshman of the week going for 6 rec/54yds/2TDs. I was gonna clip some gifs for ya, but why not just watch four minutes and 29 seconds of pure domination which includes the two Ahmari TDs…

2022 Season Outlook: While I’m excited about the additions in the wideout room of T-Huddy and Dee Wiggins, lets not overlook the returning talent of Braden Smith and AHB. There is no avoiding the fact that the Cards lost three of their Top 5 performers in that area last season so they need the new talent and the existing talent to step up. With the departure of Harrell I think some of the opportunities for AHB will multiply and we see him putting up some similar numbers in 2022. I may be crazy but I actually think AHB is even more “slippery” than Harrell, meaning it doesn’t have to always be the homerun play but a quick slant or screen and he can find a way to get loose. Excited to see what the young man can do in Year 2.

Sweet Tweet:

It ain’t got to be low-key AHB, you can scream it from the rooftops if you want. Just look at the players who come back to call this place home after their careers. America’s best little big city.