Cardinal Football

Adidas Deal Completes Louisville’s Transformation into National Powerhouse

ACC PHOTO

 

“But you ain’t bona fide!” That’s the excuse Ulysses Everett McGill (played by George Clooney) is given as to why he can’t reunite with his wife in O Brother Where Art Thou? The Big 12 likely said something to that effect when Louisville tried to rejoin its Big East buddy West Virginia in its new conference.

It would turn out to be a grave mistake, because since that moment Louisville has only grown in credibility. Before even entering the Atlantic Coast Conference, Louisville is every bit the asset West Virginia is and much more. And with Thursday’s announcement making Louisville a prized jewel in Adidas’ crown, the Cardinals are very much “bona fide.”

Louisville’s five –year, $39 million extension with Adidas positions the Cardinals among the top five nationally in apparel contracts. Its $7.8 million per year figure sits it just behind Adidas largest deal Michigan’s $8.2 million per year deal. As well as a stone’s throw away from Notre Dame’s $90 million mega deal with Under Armour unveiled in January.

For years, Louisville forum trolls have written extensively about Louisville moving on from Adidas and seeking a deal with Nike. “The recruits all want Nike!” “Our uniforms will look cooler!” “Adidas doesn’t care about us!” Three rallying cries for fans desperate for the swoosh.

When asked about the critics during Thursday’s press conference UofL Athletic Director Tom Jurich replied: “What critics? This is a great deal. I haven’t heard any critics.”

Jurich had heard no critics because they have all been silenced. This deal is fantastic for Louisville in every single way. A true milestone for the athletic program.

The key that Jurich touched on throughout the presser was how Adidas was to truly become a “partner.” Comparisons have been made to the special service Oregon receives from Nike (which was founded by former Duck Phil Knight) and perhaps Louisville becoming a similar muse.

“Our goal is making sure the other 49 states know the Louisville brand,” said Adidas representative Chris McGuire. He made clear on the international company’s goal of giving Louisville a national identity.

Adidas’ contribution to the program isn’t only around cash and merchandise. The company will provide equipment room expansion, increased digital technology, and a formalized internship program for at least 20 Louisville students. This deal is about cultivating a strong relationship.

The agreement marks yet another sign of Tom Jurich’s immense loyalty. The Cardinals have maintained a 16 year relationship with Adidas, nearly as long as Jurich’s reign atop Louisville athletics. As more and more pressure came for Louisville to move on, Jurich gave Adidas the sole first opportunity to negotiate a new deal. And the loyalty paid off.

After losing two of their brightest programs, Tennessee and Notre Dame, in two months, Adidas couldn’t afford to lose Louisville. Furthermore it was an opportunity to secure a potential ACC powerhouse in the Cardinals, who will be only the second Adidas team in its new league.

While much of Adidas’ plans for Louisville remain under wraps, it was revealed Thursday afternoon that the Cardinal football team would have five different football uniforms for 2015. While we can only imagine what they will look like, try coming up with five colors the Cardinals could wear. Red, black, white, silver, and what else? Pink? Yellow? Blue? The announcement showed that Adidas is already committed to creating excitement around the Louisville brand.

As the Cardinals enter their new ACC home, it will be hard to deny their excellence. They have performed well in a variety of sports, with 11 different teams ranked in their national top 25. State of the art facilities housing nearly every sport.  A rabid fan base willing to travel. And now an incredible apparel deal with Adidas that will place Louisville at the forefront.

This deal finds Louisville ahead of countless iconic athletics programs. Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, and Kentucky are among the school Louisville now leads in apparel dollars. Not to mention that the Cardinals have the most lucrative deal in the ACC months before they actually enter it.

If you had described today’s state of Louisville athletics to a fan from ten years ago, they no doubt would have scoffed at you. Why would anyone believe that the Cardinals who were stuck in the mediocre Conference USA could even be in the same sentence as Notre Dame and Michigan.  But here we are less 90 days from Louisville joining its new conference, and the Cardinals have all the components of a national powerhouse.

It has happened. The Cardinals are “bona fide.”

Louisville’s $40 Million Adidas Mega Deal Placed Near Top of Apparel Deals

Photo | Adidas

Photo | Adidas

The Louisville Cardinals have signed a five-year and $40 million deal to extend their 16 year relationship with adidas. According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy the deal places them among the top five for all college apparel deals.

The deal ranks them just below Notre Dame’s ($9 million per year from Under Armor) and Michigan’s ($8.5 Million per year from adidas) massive agreements. Although the Wolverines are set to renegotiate their adidas deal in the near future.

The Cardinals’ tremendous recent success likely had a lot to do with the large deal. With high profile success in several sports, the Cardinals have received national attention. Now Louisville will enter the Atlantic Coast Conference, with an even larger national platform.

There has been plenty of speculation over the past few years on whether Louisville should stay with adidas or move to Nike. Due to some reports that Nike leads to more fruitful basketball recruiting, a vocal group of fans were convinced Tom Jurich needed to pull the trigger. Now it appears that Louisville’s loyalty has been rewarded.

With Tennessee and Notre Dame leaving the adidas stable, Louisville will be a more highly regarded client. On top of the big money, the Cardinals will receive much more attention from adidas. It is a much better deal than playing second fiddle in your own state in a possible deal with Nike.

More details on the deal will be revealed during a press conference at 2:30 PM at the Yum! Center on Louisville’s campus.

ESPN’s Mock Draft Has Teddy Bridgewater Dropping To The Second Round

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Since leading Louisville to a blowout victory over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl in December, there hasn’t been a lot of positives vibes surrounding former Cardinal QB Teddy Bridgewater. At the last minute Bridgewater decided not to participate in most of the drills at the NFL combine. He then had his pro day at UofL that was described by the media as “lackluster.”

Anyone who has consistently watched Bridgewater lead the Louisville offense over the past three years should know that has superior talent and can play in the NFL. However, after multiple visits and workouts with NFL teams, Bridgewater continues to fall in the projected mock drafts.

What does that mean? Absolutely nothing. Ranking the prospects by position is one thing, but actually being able to project where someone gets drafted isn’t practical. NFL GM’s aren’t sharing information on who they’ll draft with guys at ESPN or CBS.

I firmly believe Bridgewater will be a top ten pick. Do I have any direct knowledge on that? No. I just think that there are enough teams in the top ten that need a quarterback and Bridgewater is talented enough to be at least one of the first three selected.

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Mel Kiper released his “big board” rankings. This is a rundown of the top available players in the entire draft. To be clear, the big board is not a mock draft. Kiper has Bridgewater rated as the best quartberack in the draft. However, in his mock draft he has Teddy falling to the first pick of the second round.

 Houston Texans | *Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville Let me be clear: This is the top-rated quarterback on my Big Board, a player I have rated higher than Bortles, Manziel or Carr. But my reading of the tea leaves in speaking with many evaluators around the league is that Bridgewater could drop if he slides past a couple of points early on. If I could project trades, I’d have someone taking him later in Round 1 having moved up. Obviously, he’s a steal at this point.

There is no way to know for sure that Bridgewater will be an elite quarterback in the NFL. A lot of it has to do with what type of situation you walk into. That said, when it comes to talent, Bridgewater is as good as any QB in this draft and I firmly believe he’ll prove that over the next few seasons.

Significant Announcement Coming From UofL Athletics At 2 PM

Robert Deutsch – USA TODAY Sports

Robert Deutsch – USA TODAY Sports

The University of Louisville announced this morning that there will be a press conference on Thursday afternoon at 2 PM to make a big announcement.

Athletic director Tom Jurich, volleyball coach Anne Kordes, soccer coach Ken Lolla and football coach Bobby Petrino will be in attendance at the announcement.

The press release from UofL states that this is a “significant announcement which affects all of its 23 sports programs.” The announcement will take place live at the on campus Yum! Center.

The release from UofL didn’t hint at what this announcement could be, however I believe it is an announcement regarding Louisville’s relationship with adidas. A lot of fans were hopeful that it would be an announcement that UofL would be signing with Nike, but I’m being told it’s the exact opposite and that the university will resign long term with adidas.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Former Ohio State Defensive Back Considering Louisville

Photo | 247Sports.com

Photo | 247Sports.com

Bobby Petrino and his staff weren’t hired in time to fully piece together the 2014 recruiting class that they wanted. Fortunately, they were able to keep a handful of commitments from the previous regime and also add a few new signees at the last minute.

The staff is now fully focused on the 2015 recruiting class and not just at the high school level. Last week we learned that former Georgia safety Josh Harvey-Clemons would be transferring to Louisville. Earlier today it was reported that former Ohio State safety Jayme Thompson is considering the Cards.

Thompson redshirted last season as a true freshman after suffering a broken ankle in the fall. He would have three seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out a year due to NCAA rules.  The Toledo, OH., native was a four star prospect out of high school and was ranked as the 20th best safety in the 2013 class.

ElevenWarriors.com reports that Thompson will visit Kentucky for their spring game and is also considering Penn State, Louisville, Missouri, Syracuse, Rutgers and West Virginia.

The Mountaineers may be the early leader. Thompson was previously committed to WVU before signing with Ohio State. It’ll be interesting to see if Coach Petrino can lure Thompson on campus for a visit.

Preston Brown Receiving Interest From Multiple NFL Teams

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Former Louisville linebacker Preston Brown is one of a handful of players to make an immediate impact during the Charlie Strong ear since the first day he stepped on campus. Brown started games during all four seasons as a Cardinal and was a full time starter in his final three seasons.

It’s a given that Teddy Bridgewater and Calvin Pryor will be the first two former Cards be drafted next month, but don’t be surprised if Brown is the next in line to hear his name called on draft night. Brown’s successful college career didn’t go unnoticed and a solid performance at pro day has resulted in interest from multiple NFL teams.

Brown has already met with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday and Tuesday of this week. He’s previously met with the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills. He’ll meet with the Minnesota Vikings today and tomorrow. Multiple outlets that cover the NFL Draft specifically have noted that the Vikings are very high on Brown.

ESPN projects Brown to be selected between the third and fourth rounds. He had previously been projected in the fifth and sixth rounds.

The Cincinnati native lacks elite speed at the linebacker position, but he’s a physical player with good athleticism who tackles extremely well. Brown could have a long career in the NFL as an inside linebacker.

JUCO Dual Threat QB Pat Thomas Will Visit Louisville Today

Photo | Pat Deaver

Photo | Mitch Deaver

The folks at 247Sports.com broke the news on Tuesday afternoon that junior college All American running back Jovon Robinson will take an official visit to Louisville today. Robinson previously signed with Auburn out of high school, but was ruled ineligible in the fall of 2012. He’s since enrolled at Georgia Military College and is one of the top available running back prospects in the country.

Apparently, Robinson will be bringing one of his JUCO teammates with him to Louisville on Wednesday. Dual threat quarterback Pat Thomas Tweeted that he’ll be joining Robinson on the Louisville visit.

Thomas isn’t as highly touted as Robinson, but the Milledgeville, GA., native has strong ties to the Louisville program. He was previously committed to UAB when Louisville offensive coordinator Garrick McGee was the head coach in Birmingham.

Thomas’ 247Sports profile doesn’t show that he holds an offer from the Cardinal program, but you’ve got to think he’d likely commit if he picked up one. UAB, South Alabama and Troy are the only other schools in the mix.

The QB position wasn’t thought to be a serious need for Louisville, considering they have three on the roster and incoming freshman Reggie Bonnafon. However, if Petrino and McGee feel that Thomas is worth pursuing, I suggest we trust their judgment.

UofL Makes It Official With The Addition Of Former Washington Safety James Sample

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

On Friday evening following the spring game, news broke that former Washington safety James Sample intends to transfer to Louisville. On Tuesday afternoon the UofL made it official in a press release.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville football head coach Bobby Petrino announced on Tuesday the addition of safety James Sample on the Cardinals’ program.

A former safety at Washington, the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder played for the Huskies in 2011 and 2012. Sample played in three games in 2012, and also saw action in two games in 2011 before his season ended early due to an injury.

“James is an outstanding football player who will help us fill a void on our football team,” Petrino said. “He has outstanding size at the safety position and will add immediate depth to this position on our football team.”

Before signing with Louisville, Sample attended American River College in California and will be eligible next season with two years of eligibility remaining.

Sample was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, but decided to leave the Washington program in January of 2013. He played in two games as a true freshman in 2011, but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury and received a medical redshirt. He appeared in just three games in 2012.

Petrino has stated multiple times throughout spring ball that the secondary was his main concern. Sample should be able to step in and make an immediate impact, especially with the recent knee injury to Jermaine Reve.

Senorise Perry Recently Visited With The Kansas City Chiefs

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli | The Cardinal Connect

The Louisville football program is expected to have some major representation in this year’s NFL Draft. There are at least six former players who are expected to hear their name called in next month’s draft.

After a solid pro day performance last month, former Cardinal running back Senorise Perry is starting to hear from at least one NFL team. AarowHeadPride.com reports that the Kansas City Chiefs recently brought in Perry for a visit. They also noted that bringing in a draft prospect for a visit doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s for a workout.

Prior to his season ending ACL injury in 2012, Perry was on his way to an 1,000 yard season. As a senior in 2013, he ran for 677 yards on 141 carries.  The Georgia native had 18 receptions in each of the last two seasons. Prior to being a full time running back, Perry was a star on special teams.

The Chiefs were one of the many teams in attendance for Louisville’s pro day in mid-March. Perry wasn’t the main attraction, but he did just enough to catch the attention of the scouts. He ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.36 and 4.41 seconds. Perry also showcased his 37-inch vertical and recorded a 10-6 broad jump.

Perry may be a long shot to get drafted, but don’t be surprised if he signs a free agent deal and ends up making a final roster. With his speed and athleticism, Perry could be a full time special teams player and make an immediate impact.

I personally believe that his ACL injury in 2012 put a huge damper on his NFL draft odds. Prior to the injury, Perry was projected to be a top three round selection in multiple 2014 mock drafts. Having to share carries with Dominique Brown and Michael Dyer last season certainly didn’t help things either.

One Of The Top Running Back Prospects In The Country Will Visit Louisville Tomorrow

Photo | 247Sports.com

Photo | 247Sports.com

Nearly four months into his second stint as the head football coach at the University of Louisville, Bobby Petrino can do no wrong. Those who may have been on the fence about Petrino’s return likely had a change of heart after watching the prolific offense in Friday’s spring game.

That said, if there is one thing you could nitpick about, it’s recruiting. In my opinion, Petrino and his staff did a fine job at assembling the 2014 class at the last minute. I don’t believe you can accurately judge this staff’s recruiting efforts until you’ve seen them put a complete class together in 2015.

Petrino has just one commitment from the 2015 class at this point, but he’ll receive a visit from one of the top prospects in the country tomorrow.

According to  Kipp Adams of 247Sports.com, junior college running back Jovon Robinson is expected to officially visit Louisville on Wednesday.

Robinson was one of the top running back prospects in the country in 2012 and signed with the Auburn Tigers. He was ruled ineligible in the fall of 2012 due to an NCAA investigation involving a grade change on his high school transcript.

He later enrolled at Georgia Military College and is rated as the top junior college prospects in the country. Robinson finished with 2,387 rushing yards and 34 touchdown last season.

Petrino and staff will certainly have their work cut out for them. Robinson is currently being recruited by Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee.

It’s unlikely that Robinson will make a decision anytime soon, but he’ll certainly be a name to keep an eye on.