BOZICH | Harvey-Clemons 50-50 on return; Grantham expects Fields back at U of L
Louisville could have 18 starters back next season, but the Cards are awaiting decisions from four key underclassmen on defense.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville could have as many as 18 starters back from the team that won eight of its final 10 games, including the Music City Bowl.
The offense loses one starter. But the defense will lose three -- or maybe more.
The "or more," is a necessary qualifier. Four underclassmen have submitted evaluation papers to the NFL, requesting information about their potential in the 2016 Draft.
The deadline for entering the draft is Jan. 18. The four Louisville players considering the move are safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, defensive tackle DeAngelo Brown, linebacker Devonte' Fields and linebacker Keith Kelsey.
After U of L defeated Texas A&M, 27-21, in the Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium Wednesday night, I interview Harvey-Clemons about his decision. I also asked U of L defensive coordinator Todd Grantham if he still expected Fields to return.
Fields was spectacular against A&M, finishing with eight tackles, including three sacks. He also broke up a pair of passes on A&M's final drive.
Harvey-Clemons delivered a solid game, finishing with eight tackles and an interception.
"I go home (to Georgia Thursday) and I'm going to discuss it with my family and take it from there," he said. "It's 50-50 right now."
The other three players did not discuss their futures after the game but for the second time in a month Grantham said he expected Fields to play one more season for Louisville. Both Fields (TCU) and Harvey-Clemons (Georgia) are transferred who have missed time in college football.
"I'm looking for big things from (Fields) next year," Grantham said. "I'm optimistic. We've talked. Obviously he's got to decide on what he's going to do. In his best interests, we need to continue to work on some things.
"Fields is a good player He's gotten comfortable and learned our system and gotten his timing down.
"When you're going to play at this level, the thing is that he had to learn to play against closed formations. In the Big 12 it's a lot of open formations. A lot of spreads. He had to learn to play against a lot of tight ends setting the edge. He's worked hard to do those kinds of things."
According to one NFL Draft projection associated with FoxSports.com, Harvey-Clemons is ranked the 25th best prospect at safety. CBSSports ranks him the 11th best strong safety prospect. Brown is not ranked among the top defensive line prospects.
Fields is ranked 21st among prospects at outside linebacker. CBSSports ranks Fields 14th at defensive end. Kelsey is also unranked.
Copyright 2015 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.