Wednesday, February 5, 2014 7:03am
Here's an insider look at Louisville's 2014 recruiting class.
Head Coach: Bobby Petrino
Total Number of Signees: 20
National Recruiting Rankings:
Rivals.com: No. 59 (2002) under John L. Smith; No. 35 (2003), No. 109 (2004), No. 45 (2005), No. 34 (2006) under Bobby Petrino; No. 41 (2007), No. 55 (2008), No. 77 (2009) under Steve Kragthorpe; No. 48 (2010) No. 29 (2011), No. 42 (2012), No. 52 (2013) under Charlie Strong
Scout.com: No. 66 (2002) under John L. Smith; No. 48 (2003), No. 54 (2004), No. 43 (2005), No. 26 (2006) under Bobby Petrino; No. 47 (2007), No. 54 (2008), No. 64 (2009) under Steve Kragthorpe; No. 44 (2010), No. 33 (2011), No. 42 (2012), No. 50 (2013) under Charlie Strong
247Sports.com: No. 30 (2011), No. 49 (2012), No. 39 (2013) under Charlie Strong
2014 Louisville ACC & National Rankings Network:
ESPN: Unranked (not in top 40)
Rivals.com: No. 10 ACC, No. 46 overall nationally
Scout.com: No. 8 ACC, No. 45 overall nationally
247Sports.com: No. 9 ACC, No. 47 overall nationally
Signee Breakdown by Star Rating:
Rivals.com: Five Stars (0), Four Stars (0), Three Stars (16), Two Stars (4)
Scout.com: Five Stars (0), Four Stars (2), Three Stars (14), Two Stars (4)
247Sports.com: Five Stars (0), Four Stars (0), Three Stars (18), Two Stars (2)
States Represented (10): Florida (5), Ohio (4), Indiana (2), Georgia (1), Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), New York (1), Alabama (1), North Carolina (1), South Carolina (1), Mississippi (1), Tennessee (1)
NOTE: Columbus (Ga.) native Quincy McKinney, an offensive lineman, committed to Louisville out of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
January (Spring Semester) Enrollees: Cameron Polk, L.J. Scott, Trevon Young
Unconfirmed Academics: Quincy McKinney
Breakdown by Position: Defensive Backs (4), Offensive Linemen (4), Wide Receivers (3), Linebackers (3), Defensive Linemen (2), Tight Ends (2), Quarterbacks (1), Running Backs (1)
Much of this recruiting class was put together by Charlie Strong’s staff of course, and the top recruiter for most of this cycle for Louisville - at least before he left to go to Austin with Strong - was Brian Jean-Mary, a longtime Georgia Tech assistant who worked wonders for the Cardinals in his native Florida. But with Jean-Mary off to help Strong coach the Longhorns, it was up to newcomers such as the Grantham brothers, Todd and Tony, to keep this class together for the Cardinals. Todd Grantham left Georgia to join Bobby Petrino’s staff at Louisville, while Tony joined Petrino’s staff after a six-year stint at Navy. Todd Grantham used some of his connections in Georgia to bring a couple of late additions to Louisville’s class - defensive tackle Derrian Meminger of Sparta (Ga.), and tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith of Milledgeville (Ga.). Cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley also deserves mention for helping the Cardinals secure Montgomery (Ala.) tight end Charles Standberry and Miami defensive back Trumaine Washington.
10 Key Misses
Burlington (Ky.) quarterback Drew Barker (Kentucky), Hilton Head (S.C.) defensive tackle Poona Ford (undecided---de-committed from Louisville in December), Louisville (Ky.) defensive end Lloyd Tubman (Penn State), Bowling Green (Ky.) defensive tackle Adrian Middleton (Kentucky), Bolivar (Mo.) quarterback Rafe Peavey (Arkansas), Columbus (OH) defensive end Robert Bowers (Michigan State), Liberty Township (OH) offensive lineman Jarrett LaRubbio (Kentucky), Council Bluffs (Ia.) offensive lineman DeAndre Herron (Iowa), Fairfield (Ala.) offensive lineman Deion Calhoun (Mississippi State), Cincinnati (OH) defensive back Mike Edwards (Kentucky)
Louisville Recruiting Storylines
- Following Charlie Strong’s departure to Texas Louisville’s class briefly came a little unraveled. Within days after it became evident Strong was heading to Austin, the Cardinals lost commitments from Lakeland (Fla.) defensive tackle Chris Nelson and Hilton Head (S.C.) defensive tackle Poona Ford, while several other Louisville commitments wavered in their solidity. Another prospect---offensive lineman Lukayus McNeil - briefly de-committed from the Cardinals. But starting in early January, with the commitment of Vero Beach (Fla.) wide receiver Javonte Bagley around the time it was confirmed that Bobby Petrino was returning to Louisville, the Cardinals got on a recruiting roll. McNeil re-committed to Louisville shortly after Petrino’s re-hiring, and on January 26 Louisville got a pledge from Brooklyn (N.Y.) Junior College offensive lineman Kelby Johnson, and then on the final weekend before National Signing Day the Cardinals got commitments from four prospects---Indianapolis offensive lineman Lukayus McNeil, Montgomery (Ala.) tight end Charles Standberry, Miami defensive back Trumaine Washington, and Hutchinson (Kan.) offensive lineman Quincy McKinney.
- Kentucky is not a traditional football recruiting hotbed, as the state often produces a handful of elite gridiron talents each recruiting cycle but not enough to make it a place where one in-state program can stake a continuous claim of talent. So the fact that this year the Cardinals only have one in-state commitment - local quarterback product Reggie Bonnafon - shouldn’t come as a huge cause for concern. Louisville signed just two Kentucky natives each in the 2012 and 2013 classes, and the five in-state commitments for the 2011 Louisville class under Charlie Strong and his staff was the only Louisville class going back to 2008 that had more than two Kentuckians in it. In turn, the Cardinal program has turned largely to Florida to fill many of its recruiting needs. 2014 marks the fifth straight recruiting class for Louisville in which Florida is the single state with the most commitments, though this year’s five Sunshine State natives - reduced drastically by the sudden departure of Strong and his staff - is considerably less than in recent years. Louisville signed a total of 34 Florida natives in the four classes running from 2010 to 2013, including a high of 12 Floridians in the 2011 class.
- One member of this Louisville class already has familiarity with the Atlantic Coast Conference, as Kelby Johnson, a 6-8, 320-pound offensive lineman, spent two years as a reserve offensive lineman at Virginia, playing in four games as a true freshman in 2011. Johnson left UVa after a violation of team rules and wound up at Brooklyn (N.Y.) ASA College, where he went through the recruiting process a second time before committing to Louisville after a late January official visit. Johnson has two years of eligibility remaining with the Cardinals. 247Sports.com has Johnson ranked the No. 15 Junior College offensive lineman nationally. Another potential immediate-impact offensive lineman Louisville is signing out of the Junior College ranks Wednesday is Quincy McKinney, a 6-4, 310-pounder. McKinney originally committed to South Carolina in the Class of 2011, but he was unable to qualify out of Columbus (Ga.) Carver High School, and eventually wound up at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. McKinney took official visits to Louisville, East Carolina, and N.C. State in the weeks leading up to this year’s Signing Day, and pledged to Louisville February 3.
A Closer Look At ...
Charles Standberry, TE (6-3, 205) Montgomery (Ala.) Carver
Rivals.com Ranking: (No. 30 tight end, No. 20 in Alabama)
Scout.com Ranking: (No. 61 tight end)
247Sports.com Ranking: (No. 39 tight end, No. 34 in Alabama)
Lead Recruiter: Terrell Buckley, L.D. Scott
Standberry was part of Louisville’s late flurry of commitments, adding his name to the Cardinal signing list February 2. A versatile pass catcher who has potential to play tight end or wide receiver for the Cardinals, Standberry had a productive career at Carver High School, producing 1,794 receiving yards and 21 all-purpose touchdowns as a prep player. He had back-to-back seasons of 50-plus catches (54 as a junior, 59 as a senior) and combined for over 1,400 receiving yards over his junior and senior seasons (622 in 2012, 794 in 2013). Standberry committed to the Cardinals after an official visit to Louisville the first weekend in February. “They (the new Louisville coaches) told me that they want to play me as a receiver and tight end,” Standberry said to CardinalAuthority.com. “A flex tight end really. Their offense and how they involve the tight ends is one of the main reasons (I chose Louisville). (The official visit) went really good. I liked everything about it, the city, the people, the coaches, the players. It was great."
Henry Famurewa, DE (6-3, 240) Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern
Rivals.com Ranking: (No. 71 in Georgia)
Scout.com Ranking: (No. 75 outside linebacker, No. 81 in Georgia)
247Sports.com Ranking: (No. 48 weak-side defensive end, No. 82 in Georgia)
Lead Recruiter(s): Brian Jean-Mary (recently left Louisville for Texas)
Famurewa put up some impressive numbers over his final two seasons of high school competition in 2012 and 2013 at McEachern High School. As a junior in 2012 he recorded 90 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and two pass deflections, and followed that up his senior season with 117 tackles and a County-best 16 sacks. He was named first-team All-State for his efforts in 2013. “They (Louisville) have a great facility and a great team. They have a great everything,” Famurewa said to Rivals.com just prior to his commitment to the Cardinals. “The strength of my game is mostly based off of my speed and strength. My areas of improvement would be my hands. I need to get better on using my hands. I might not be a five star recruit or the top 250 or whatever but I know dang well that if you line me up against any if those guys that I'm just as good if not better,” Famurewa added to Scout.com’s Jason Higdon.
Reggie Bonnafon, QB/ATH (6-1, 195) Louisville (Ky.) Trinity
Rivals.com Ranking: (No. 40 athlete, No. 2 in Kentucky)
Scout.com Ranking: (No. 22 quarterback, No. 3 in Kentucky)
247Sports.com Ranking: (No. 12 dual-threat quarterback, No. 4 in Kentucky)
Lead Recruiter(s): Shawn Watson (recently left Louisville for Texas)
A local product out of Louisville’s Trinity High School, Bonnafon stayed loyal to the Cardinals even after the departure of his lead recruiter and former UL offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, who left Louisville to join Charlie Strong at Texas. Bonnafon was the first Cardinal commitment in the 2014 class, committing in January of his junior year. He played quarterback his senior season at Trinity High and had some flashes of brilliance this past fall, including a 376-yard, five touchdown performance in mid-October. Bonnafon led Trinity to a 6-6 overall record and a postseason playoff run to the state quarterfinals in 2013. Prior to his senior season Bonnafon, playing mostly wide receiver, helped lead Trinity High to three consecutive Kentucky Class 6A state titles from 2010 through 2012, including an undefeated 2011 season.
Why They Chose Louisville
You know how you get a place and it just feels like home? That's how it was with me. I liked everything I saw, and I like the way they treat their players.
---Matthews (N.C.) linebacker Isaac Stewart to CardinalSports.com
I felt like it was right. I like the offense they run and just all-around love the school and the coaches. It was the right place for me. I just really like everything about Louisville, the new coaching staff, the campus, and the players.
---Indianapolis (Ind.) offensive tackle Lukayus McNeil to CardinalAuthority.com and FoxSportsRecruiting.com.
I just think that Louisville is the place to be right now---for anything---coming off the "Year of the Cardinal" national championships for athletics. The things that they have going with their academics. I just can't find a single flaw. I love every bit of it. I like the way the student body is. They seem to be very active in the community. There is always something going on. The atmosphere overall is amazing, to say the least.
---Fairfield (OH) offensive tackle Danny Burns to CardinalSports.com
When I first committed to Louisville, it was because of the comfort and relationships I had with the coaching staff. Academics were a big part of my decision too. The school fit me well because I want to major in graphic design and they have that major there. Some part of me was a little bit hurt (when Strong and his staff left for Texas). However, I picked Louisville for more than just the coaching staff. It’s not been stressful as I know this is just a business. Texas gave (Coach Strong) what he felt was a better package and I might have taken it myself if I was in his position. I know there are different people there now (at Louisville) as to before, but it felt like home.
---Clayton (OH) defensive end Terry Ramsey-Pridgen to Scout.com