With the strongest recruiting class Louisville has ever seen, Charlie Strong has established the Cardinals as a Big East powerhouse once again.
Strong brought in 20 recruits for his 2011 class including three members of ESPN’s top 150 players in the class. While most of the buzz surrounds 5 star quarterback Army All-American Teddy Bridgewater, there are plenty of other things to get excited for. Safety Gerod Holliman, Wide Reciever Eli Rogers, and Linebacker Brandon Golson will all provide a lasting impact on the football program. “We are a BCS school…it has to be expected that this school recruits these types of players,” Strong remarked in his signing day press conference.
There even was a little bit of signing day drama. Bryant Dubose who originally chose Miami on Jan. 30, decommitted from the Canes and decided today to come to Louisville. Strong noted that Recruiting Coordinator Clint Hurtt was instrumental in Dubose’s switch. “Coach Hurtt was a huge factor to Bryant and his mom. We were on the phone with her on Sunday. She asked us if ‘her boy was going to be taken care of at Louisville’ and we said ‘of course,'” Strong said.
Coach Hurtt’s name came up quite a few times in the press conference. Strong gave a lot of credit to the defensive line coach and master recruiter. Strong also spoke about University of Louisville Provost Shirley Willihnganz speaking to recruits about the academics at UofL for “over an hour.” This really points to a strong willed recruiting class that I expect to be rid of the off the field problems that have come with big recruits in the past.
Strong and Hurtt are also being lauded for a coup d’ tat on recruits in the Miami area. Charlie praise Teddy Bridgewater for being a major factor in those commitments. “Once one guy goes, you watch the domino effect come with him. Once guys saw that Teddy committed they were easier to recruits because they knew we had to have something nice going on, ” said Strong. The Cards scored eight recruits from the Miami area, and another four hail from the rest of Florida. Its a tremendous feat that can only help the Cards in future recruiting ventures.
The Cards still have a chance for two more recruits. Quarterback DeMarcus Smith of Seneca High School and Athlete Jerrell Moore of Fern Creek decide Friday between Louisville and Central Florida. I spoke about Smith at length last night, and signs are still pointing towards him going to Central Florida. Rumor had it that he may have already signed, but that is untrue and the signing will take place Friday.
What’s next for the Cards? The team had a 6 am drills session today and will continue conditioning until formal spring practice begins later this year. Strong is now looking to get the new recruits into the system, five (including Bridgewater and Golson) are already enrolled in the University and will begin practicing with the Cardinals. Strong also gave an interesting nugget, saying that he planned to use the dual-threat Bridgewater as a mainly pocket passer.