Bobby Petrino’s second full recruiting class was on par with his first one, and considering the early contributions his class made in 2015 -- particularly from the quarterback spot -- that has to be an encouraging sign for a program that has shown that it belongs in the ACC after two years.
Louisville hauled in the nation’s No. 36 recruiting class last week, this after landing the nation’s No. 30 class in 2015. The Cards’ depth under center is tough to match, and they took the necessary steps to ensure that their defense can continue its dominant ways in the Atlantic Division. While the class is still a step below division powerhouses Florida State and Clemson, Louisville also saw some competition on the road from a few unlikely ACC schools in Duke and Pitt, which made serious moves after Pat Narduzzi’s first year. The Cards’ class ranked seventh in the league, but it addressed critical needs.
Biggest need going into NSD: Louisville’s front seven is top-heavy. The Cardinals lost four starters from last year, and the three guys returning are all seniors. Todd Grantham’s defense has shattered expectations in his first two years with the Cards, and now he needs the necessary depth to allow his unit to reload instead of rebuild.
How it was addressed: The Cards landed ESPN four-star outside linebacker P.J. Blue (Montgomery, Ala./Park Crossing) and three-star OLB Tabarius Peterson (Tucker, Ga./Tucker), two guys that can get after the quarterback. Additionally, they got three-star inside linebacker Tobias Little (Atlanta/Benjamin E. Mays) and juco OLB Gary McCrae (Cuthbert, Ga./Randolph-Clay), who originally signed with Georgia. Louisville also added a trio of three-star defensive ends in Caleb Tillman (Dothan, Ala./Northview) Derek Dorsey (Louisville, Ky./DuPont Manual) and Kordell Slater (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte).
Strongest position post-NSD: It is always a leap to suggest that a team has its most important position locked up moving forward, but you have to like what Louisville has under center. The Cards added ESPN 300 quarterback Jawon Pass (Columbus, Ga./Carver), the No. 9 dual-threat QB in the nation. Add his talents with the fact that Lamar Jackson is coming back after a ridiculously strong finish to his freshman year -- not to mention the returns of Kyle Bolin and Reggie Bonnafon, albeit now at receiver for Bonnafon -- and Petrino has plenty to work with moving forward.
Biggest remaining need: Louisville will probably have to sign more than one offensive lineman moving forward. The Cards’ only addition last week was three-star guard Robbie Bell (Hoschton, Ga./Mill Creek), and though they brought in five O-linemen in the 2015 class, there is no such thing as too many big guys, especially with the QB talent the Cards have been reeling in.