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The Cardinal Countdown: 4 Days Until Kickoff

Louisville v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

2021 Season Recap: Coming into 2021 there were some big expectations on Braden and how he would help replace a few of the bigger targets from 2020. When you tallied up the final stats at the end of the COVID shortened season Braden was the clear #3 behind Dez and Tutu, both of which had departed for the league. So, could Braden be a #1 option? A bit of a slow start in the first four games of 2021 (11rec/68yd) ended up being the highlight for Braden last year. An unfortunate knee injury in Week 4 sidelined him all the way until the bowl game where he was cleared to play but did not make a grab in the season finale. While Braden didn’t get to see 2021 play out the way he had hoped you could tell the staff planned to use him quite a bit all over the field. In the first four games he not only recorded the receiving stats above but also went 2-3 with a TD through the air (trickeration!), had a rushing attempt, and had a 15yd punt return average with a return TD against EKU. His injury was not discussed much in the “what if” scenarios after the year, but it absolutely had an impact on the offense and it’s potential weapons.

2022 Season Outlook: So what do you do with expectations for a guy who showed he could be a top performer previously (2020) but then is fighting back from an injury trying to get in the mix with new blood all over the wideout room? My guess is as good as yours, but I think the staff puts their trust in Braden again and consider him a threat from all over the field. I would not expect him to be Top 3 in terms of receiving yardage, but he can still get in the mix with a few flea flickers, and maybe jump in as a returner behind AHB, Jawhar, or Josh Johnson? Anytime a player misses a significant portion of the year I think it’s only human nature to kind of forget about them when reflecting back on production from last season and the then looking at transfers and freshman, but I think in the first few games Braden will re-introduce himself to the fans as a playmaker looking to make an impact in what we project to be a high powered offensive team.

Sweet Tweet:

Take a listen to Braden and Coach Satt speak on the challenges of the injury, and the significance of getting Braden back this year.