BOZICH | Louisville recruiting class will make you A) cheer B) h - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Louisville recruiting class will make you A) cheer B) howl C) wonder

Posted: Updated:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville football recruiting class is:

A) Ranked in the Top 35 in America, more acclaimed than the classes signed by Kentucky, Indiana or Western Kentucky.

B) Stirring old, stinging questions about coach Bobby Petrino;

C) Precisely what the Cardinals needed to fill their positional needs;

D) A reminder of what a harsh business putting together a solid football program can be or...

E) Whatever you want it to be.

The correct answers for many of you, especially Louisville fans, will be A and C.

The Cards' coaching staff slugged it out with Auburn, Georgia, Clemson and other schools that aspire to win championships. They won their share of the tugs-of-flesh. A school press release said that at least 18 of the 25 signees had one or more offers from a Southeastern Conference school. That tells me more than any national rankings. It's a good thing.

Others, especially folks inclined to snicker at Petrino, will insist the discussion must begin with “B.” The Cards' signature recruit is a player who was dismissed by TCU after a misdemeanor assault charge involving his ex-girlfriend. Domestic assault is an awful thing.

A high school football program in South Carolina said Louisville is no longer welcome there after the coaching staff changed its scholarship offer to one of its players two days before national signing day.

Twitter percolated with old questions about Petrino saying one thing and then doing another after an angry teenager who was certain for months that Louisville wanted him discovered the Cardinals had changed their mind. Petrino said the player was still welcome, but not until next January, a process coaches call "gray-shirting." Recruiting is absolutely a contact sport.

There's another side to those kinds of stories. Players change their minds, too. Blend in the news that the Louisville coaches had to wait and wait and until 30 minutes past noon to receive official confirmation that one of their top defensive recruits (defensive lineman G.G. Robinson) had not changed his mind about U of L and “D” is absolutely a reasonable answer. There's got to be a more civilized way, but nobody has established one.


I'm going with “E.”

I'll trust the experts that Louisville signed a solid class. I will only remind you one time that nobody from Rivals or Scout or any recruiting web site that demands your money was going gaga when the Cardinals signed Marcus Smith or Calvin Pryor, first-round picks in the 2014 NFL Draft, in their 2011 recruiting class. Smith and Pryor were two stars short of five-star status.

Lamar Jackson, a powerful 6-foot-3 quarterback from Florida, and Devante Peete, a thunderous 6-6 receiver from the same state, are the two names most likely to have the recruiting gurus hyperventilating.

According to U of L, both had offers from Florida State, Auburn and Ohio State. That's big-boy football, which is what the Cards must play to remain relevant in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Peete and Jackson are two of the three Louisville signees who earned four-star recognition from Rivals.

The third was Devonte Fields.

He is a pass-rushing phenom who arrives from a junior college in Texas. He played at the junior college because he was dismissed by TCU. He was dismissed by TCU before the 2014 season because he was charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend, a case that is still pending. Domestic assault is an awful thing.

Petrino and U of L defensive coordinator Todd Grantham both said they talked to Fields' former coaches at TCU and Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas before offering the scholarship. Grantham said the pursuit of Fields began last fall. They huddled with Fields and his mother, Monica, and he committed on Super Bowl Sunday.

Petrino and Grantham will take the risk – that Fields will return to be the player named the 2012 Big 12 Defensive player of the year, not the next Willie Williams or Rod Council. The Cards have had success with second-chance stories, but those two guys returned to the police blotter after Louisville invested a second chance in a four-star recruit, which is often how many stars are required to earn that second chance.

“I think you never know any player until you actually get them here,” said Grantham, the lead recruiter on Fields.

“So from that standpoint there is a risk with every player you take because ultimately you really don't know players until you're around them every day, day in and day out for a couple months.

“I think what you have to do with any player is research the players. We obviously researched this player more than others, relative to his situation and like I said we were very comfortable with him. He understands the standards that we have for him. Our expectations of what we want him to do and we look forward to making it a very successful for him as well as us.”

I wouldn't have taken the chance, but I suspect that you don't care about that. What you care about is whether Fields can really rush the passer. He can.

So it went with the Cards' Class of 2015. Seven guys arrive from junior colleges. Nobody arrives who played high school football in the state of Kentucky. More than half the class arrives from states (seven from Florida, six from Alabama) where national signing day is a national holiday. That's usually a good thing.

Some will deliver. Some won't.

Some people like the class. Others love it. A few might even wonder why Petrino and his staff made the moves they made.

Trust me, national signing day is whatever you want it to be.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

  • Sign Up for the WDRB Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.