Louisville will bring back just as many starters in 2013 as any other team in the Big East. Charile Strong will welcome in his 2013 recruiting class and a handful of transfers will be eligible for the first time. With just a couple more scholarships available, Louisville’s 2013 recruiting class looks to be about 95% complete. Here is an early look at what is available on the defensive side of the ball in 2013.
Defensive Line - Louisville returns its entire defensive line from the 2012 season. Even though the Cards line left some things to be desired at some points throughout the season, there is much to be said about returning that much experience. Deiontrez Mount, Lorenzo Mauldin, Marcus Smith, Roy Philon, Brandon Dunn, BJ Dubose, JamaineBrooks, Sheldon Rankins and DeAngelo Brown have all played significant minutes for the Cards. Battling these guys for minutes will be 2012 commit Pedro Sibiea and current 2013 commits 4-Star De’Asian Richardson, 3-Star Finesse Middleton and 3-Star Kyle Shortridge. Much like the offensive line, I don’t think the coaching staff ever stops recruiting the defensive line. At this point they may not receive another commitment from a defensive lineman in the 2013 class, but if they did my guess would be 3-Star Monty Nelson who appears to be down to Louisville, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Missouri.
Linebackers – Much like the defensive line, the Cards return most of their guys from the linebacker position with the exception of Daniel Brown. Preston Brown, James Burgess Jr., Keith Brown and George Durant soaked up the majority of the minutes last year. The class of 2012’s 4-Star stud Nick Dawson is sure to figure into the equation as he was one of the top recruits for that class as the 2nd rated Inside Linebacker in the country. Louisville had a phenomenal recruiting season for linebackers last year and many thought that might be an area that wasn’t targeted for the staff very hard. Not so much. Some other guys haven’t developed as the staff might have hoped they would and that has lead to some concerns about depth at the position. With that the Cards have landed commitments from a couple of 3-Stars in Donel Elam and just earlier this week in Keith Kelsey Jr. It doesn’t appear that Louisville’s coaching staff is stopping there as they continue to go after 4-Star Jermaine Grace who is down to Louisville andMiami. Grace just visited the Cards on January 18th and then received a visit from Charlie Strong on the 23rd. The Cards are also keeping up with 3-Star Lyn Clark out ofNew Orleans.
Secondary – Going through the D-Line, Linebackers and now the Secondary, you really begin to realize how much experience the Cards will return in 2013. Louisville’s only loss, albeit a large one, was senior Cornerback Adrian Bushell. Unfortunately the Corner position is another without a ton of depth after some have struggled to develop into what the staff had hoped. Andrew Johnson, Terrell Floyd and Stephan Robinson return with most of the minutes from 2012. There are a couple of guys from the 2012 class that could emerge in 3-Stars Devontre Parnell and Kevin Houchins (could play safety). The Safety position for the Cards is stacked, very stacked. The 2012 starters Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor joined by Jermaine Reve who really came into his game and Gerod Holliman who has as much upside as anyone, could be one of the best safety rotations in the country. They could be scary good. Joining all of these Defensive Backs are 2013 3-Star commits Terrence Ross (listed as Safety) and Charles Williams (listed as Athlete). What makes these guys interesting is that they are both listed at 6’-2”. Charlie Strong has made no secret that he was targeting taller guys for the cornerback position. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them groomed for the Corner positions. Strong and Company are also continuing to work very hard on USF 4-Star commit Lamar Robbins who at this point is a toss up at best between the Cards and Bulls. Robbins is a 6’3” Corner that fits very well into what the staff is looking for.