Bobby Petrino and his Louisville football staff are doing all they can to close out the 2015 class on a high note, and after striking out (for the moment) on all of last weekend’s uncommitted visitors, he again will have the chance to woo some high profile prospects the next two weekends.
Things have been unfortunately trending the wrong way for Louisville with its top recruits as of late. Top RB prospect Dexter Williams had Louisville among his top schools before visiting Notre Dame, but after that visit, he shut down his recruitment and the Irish stopped recruiting their other RB targets. That does not exactly bode well for the Cards, who continue to pursue RB options. Williams’ teammate, DB Jalen Julius, is reportedly very high on Ole Miss now, too.
Other recruits have kept an eye open as well. Safety commit Sheldrick Redwine is reportedly very high on Auburn, who has offered him a scholarship, and RB Rocky Reid, who appeared to be a backup option at one point for Louisville, is now trending West Virginia in the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
But don’t panic just yet. Over the next two weekends, 11 uncommitted prospects will be taking official visits, some of who could provide an immediate impact. Here are some to keep an eye on.
DeVante Peete: A big WR at 6-6, 205 lbs., Peete appears to be the Cards’ top WR prospect. He is not a burner (reportedly runs around a 4.8), and he tends to round off his routes, but he has outstanding hands and ideal size. He has been projected as both a WR and a TE at the next level and is on Louisville’s campus this weekend. He could be a great fit at either TE or be a valuable possession WR for Louisville, but the Cards need to lock him up quick, as Florida State and Auburn both are still after him. He is considered a 4-star prospect per 3 of the 4 major recruiting services.
Emonee Spence: (Update: now committed to Louisville) Another WR target, Spence is more of a traditional WR than Peete. His routes are a little cleaner and he is a little faster as well. He is also extremely athletic, registering a 35 inch vertical leap according to ESPN, who rates him as a 4-star prospect. The former Miami commit may be down to Louisville and hometown Central Florida. He is also on campus this weekend and plans to visit UCF the following weekend, so the Cards would be wise to lock him up this weekend.
Keith Washington: A backup option to Redwine perhaps? If so, it’s a good one. The 6-2 ATH is a teammate of Louisville OL commit Kenny Thomas’, and he appears to be the type of player Petrino loves to sign: an athlete who played multiple positions in high school. He played QB as well as RB and safety in high school and is projected as a safety at the next level. He is also considering TCU, Cal, and North Carolina (new DC Gene Chizik is apparently very high on him) and in Louisville this weekend.
Javarius Davis: Whether it’s at RB or DB, this is a player the Cards would love to have. Rated as a 4-star ATH on two of the four major recruiting services, Davis is on campus this weekend for Louisville after the staff visited him this past week. The 5-10, 175 lb. Davis runs a 4.47 forty and Scout.com’s Chad Simmons said of him last summer, “Davis is listed at 5-foot-10, but he plays longer and bigger. He takes long strides to cover a lot of ground quickly, but he also can change direction quickly and run with talented wide receivers.” Louisville has some stiff competition, though, as he visited Auburn last week and is VERY high on the Tigers. He will be one to watch.
Darrien McNair: Currently committed to Mississippi State, the 6-3, 220 lb. outside linebacker will be on campus this weekend and is keeping an open ear to what the Cards have to say. He carries speed with his size, running an impressive 4.5 forty, and as a former safety, he can play in coverage and in the open field as well. He was a high school teammate of Louisville OL commit Geron Christian at Trinity High School in Ocala, FL, and he appears to be a perfect fit for OLB in Todd Grantham’s system. He hits hard, and he is fast enough to shed blocks, get to the QB, and with his height, he can bat down passes, too. He recorded 90 tackles in 10 games his senior season, and the last three crystal ball selections have been for Louisville.
Mark Walton: This one appears to be a longshot, but Louisville will host the 4-star RB committed to Miami on the final weekend before signing day, so anything is possible. He appears firmly committed to the Canes, but he just visited Georgia and will visit the Cards next weekend. He is ranked among the best 10 RBs in the country, and while he does not have the size or speed of Dexter Williams, he would be an outstanding backup option (if you can even call it that) should he flip. Again, though, this one would be tough for the Cards, but seeing as Miami is bleeding out recruits left and right, it is not crazy to think it could happen.
Kentavious Davis: This may be the backup to the backup option. The 3-star Thomas was formerly committed to Mississippi State, but opened up after he had rarely been hearing from them. The Cards are the only other team to have offered him at the moment, and it appears that if they want him, they can get him. He may not be among the top targets at the moment, but he is a tough runner who is not afraid to lower his shoulder and push forward for extra yards. He visits the 30th along with Walton.
Rashad Fenton: Playing time is wide open in the Louisville secondary, where last year’s starters have all moved on. While Georgia transfers Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins will start this season, the Cards are going to need bodies to rotate in, and Fenton is a fast-rising DB who will visit next weekend. His recruitment has really skyrocketed recently, as he has landed offers from Louisville, Florida, Auburn, and South Carolina, while Florida State has also shown significant interest. He is just under 6-feet tall and while he appears like he thrives in Cover-2 situations, his highlights suggest he has no issue staying with his man on deep routes. He is also a talented return specialist.
Things appear foggy at the moment for Louisville and the remaining targets, but consider this for a moment. While Louisville has missed on some of their top prospects and likely will do so on a few more, the core of this class is still nothing to scoff at. Nearly every player on the roster was pursued by high major teams only to end up committing to Louisville. Whereas in the past, Louisville’s option B and C players were being pursued by teams like Memphis, Troy, and Florida Atlantic, now the team’s option B and C players are still earning high major offers elsewhere.
That does not mean it is not important for the staff to close out strong, though. There are two weeks remaining until signing day, and as written above, the Cards still have a major opportunity to land some more high major prospects.