The Cards lose a lot on both sides of the ball, but that didn’t deter ESPN.com from naming Louisville one of the 25 best teams in their way-too-early poll. UofL was one of four ACC teams in the poll; Clemson was 10th, FSU was 15th, and Georgia Tech 19th.
2014 record: 9-4, 5-3 ACC
Returning starters: 4 offense, 4 defense, 1 special teams
Key personnel losses: WR DeVante Parker, WR Eli Rogers, OT Jamon Brown, TE Gerald Christian, RB Michael Dyer, LB Lorenzo Mauldin, FS Gerod Holliman, CB Charles Gaines, CB Terell Floyd, SS James Sample
The skinny: The Cardinals lost a plethora of playmakers on both sides of the football, but coach Bobby Petrino went the junior college route to rebuild his roster. Also, Louisville already had a handful of FBS transfers ready to step in. Former TCU star DeVonte’ Fields signed with the Cardinals and could become a premier pass-rusher. UAB transfer Jamari Staples and Texas A&M transfer JaQuay Williams should help on the perimeter, after the Cardinals lost three of their top four receivers. Running back Jeremy Smith is one of seven junior college transfers expected to join the team. Georgia transfers Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins should help in the secondary, after Louisville lost all four starting defensive backs, including Gaines, Holliman and Sample, who left early for the NFL draft. Petrino was able to keep defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who turned down a job with the Oakland Raiders, and offensive coordinator Garrick McGee, who turned down an interview with Oklahoma.