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Charlie Strong Signs First Class as Louisville Head Coach

strong Charlie Strong Signs First Class as Louisville Head Coach

Charlie Strong has been Louisville head coach for about two months and today, wrapped up his first recruiting class as a head coach. Strong met with the Louisville media today to discuss the class and said he was happy with the group of recruits the Cards signed.

Dressed in a sharp red Louisville v-neck sweater, over top a mock turtleneck which no doubt resonated well with Cardinal nation, Charlie Strong spoke on many topics in relation to recruiting. He started the presser by praising his coaching staff for their hard work and said he felt they did a tremendous job.

When asked what Strong and his staff recruit to when they talk to players, the first year coach answered with the city of Louisville. Strong cited the Muhammad Ali Center and Louisville basketball games as activities they take recruits while on visits.

Strong said the main focus of the recruiting efforts were linemen, on both sides of the ball. The Cards added ten linemen in this class with four offensive linemen and six on the defensive side.

On the offensive line, Jake Smith was talked about by Strong as a big, physical player. Smith, an Alabama native, is 6-4 and 305 lbs. On the defensive side, B.J. Butler is a big time playmaker from the defensive end position. Strong had recruited Butler while at Florida. Butler decommitted from Georgia to join Strong at Louisville.

Coach Strong also felt receiver was a position of need as well and the Cards added several playmakers for that position. Michaelee Harris, a four-star recruit from Miami, is the highest ranked recruit at receiver for the Cards. Strong feels Harris is a big play receiver and will give the Cards a vertical threat.

harris Charlie Strong Signs First Class as Louisville Head Coach

Receiver Michaelee Harris

Stephan Robinson, Joshua Bellamy, Jarrett Davis, and Kai Dominguez join Harris in the receiving corps. Robinson, a local product from Louisville Central, and Dominguez were mentioned by Coach Strong has guys he feels can really run and make plays. Specifically, Strong called Robinson “quick and explosive”. Bellamy is a junior college recruit who could see the field next season if he picks up the offense quickly.

Quarterback was another position the Louisville staff focused on. The Cards brought in three quarterbacks for 2010 with Luke Woodley, Marcus Smith, and Dominique Brown. Woodley is already with the program as he enrolled in January.

Marcus Smith will initially try out at the quarterback position, but there is a possibility he makes a position change. Dominique Brown is a big time player who played in a run heavy option scheme at Winton Woods high school. While Brown’s passing ability is a question mark, specifically the mental aspect, there is no doubt he has all the physical ability in the world to be a special player.

When asked if Brown could potentially start at the quarterback position as a true freshman, Strong said it was possible if he picked up the offense. However, Strong also said there are quarterbacks in the program who will get their shot as well. Even though Strong did not specifically say this, it is clear all jobs are open.

There are two scholarships open and Strong did not rule out signing two more prospects before all is said and done. If no new players come in, then some walk-ons currently in the program could be candidates for those open scholarships.

Here is the full commitment list for the Cards:

Defensive Line
Harris Bivin – 6-2, 290 lbs
Jamaine Brooks – 6-4, 310 lbs
Randy Salmon (already enrolled) – 6-1, 295 lbs

Defensive End
BJ Butler – 6-3, 240 lbs
Lacy Coleman – 6-5, 240 lbs
Brandon Dunn – 6-3, 260 lbs

Linebacker
Preston Brown – 6-3, 220 lbs,
Tyon Dixon – 6-0, 210 lbs
Deon Rogers – 6-3, 198 lbs

Cornerback
Jordan Paschal – 5-10, 182 lbs

Offensive Line
Chris Acosta – 6-5, 270 lbs
Zachary Hundertmark – 6-5, 275 lbs
Chase Petersen – 6-4, 280 lbs
Jake Smith – 6-4, 305 lbs

Wide Receiver
Joshua Bellamy – 6-1, 200 lbs
Jarrett Davis – 5-11, 165 lbs
Kai Dominguez – 6-1, 165 lbs
Michaelee Harris – 6-0, 167 lbs
Stephan Robinson – 5-9, 165 lbs

Tight End
Dylan Curry – 6-5, 245 lbs

Running Back
Kamal Hogan – 5-11, 196 lbs, 4.44 40-time
Corvin Lamb – 5-9, 191 lbs, 4.5 40-time
Senorise Perry – 6-1, 190 lbs, 4.44 40-time

Quarterback
Dominique Brown – 6-3, 215 lbs
Marcus Smith – 6-3, 210 lbs
Luke Woodley (already enrolled) – 6-2, 195 lbs

My Take

Going into Signing Day, most were expecting the Cards to also land highly coveted offensive lineman Torrian Wilson and defensive tackle Todd Chandler. In Wilson’s case, he was expected to sign with Louisville mostly due to the fact he verbally committed to Louisville and his Facebook page showed him in the Louisville locker room, wearing a Louisville jersey.

However, during his signing ceremony, he shocked a lot of people and chose to sign with Central Florida. It appears it was a family decision as Wilson is from Florida, has a wife and child already, and simply decided to stay close to them. If that is indeed the case, then I don’t think anyone can blame him for that move.

Todd Chandler, a former South Florida verbal and highly ranked defensive tackle, visited Louisville several weeks back and many in the recruiting world felt he would choose the Cards. However, a few days before Signing Day, word started to break that South Florida had made a late push and jumped back in front.

That did not last long as the latest buzz had Chandler with the Cards in the lead as late as the morning of Signing Day. Unfortunately for Louisville, South Florida’s push worked and the big defensive tackle signed with the Bulls.

Despite losing Wilson and missing on Chandler, the Cards signed a very good class in my opinon. The main reason I feel it’s a good class is because they addressed their needs. The Cards needed to stock up on big hogs up front and they did. They also needed to re-stock the receving corps and they did that, too.

The highest rated recruit on the offensive side is receiver Michalee Harris. According to Rivals, Harris is the 16th best receiver and 121st player nationally in the 2010 class. Harris is said to have special route running ability and great hands.

The highest rated recruit on the defensive side is B.J. Butler. According to Rivals, Butler is the 27th best weakside defensive end. Butler has very good speed and in fact, played quarterback for his high school team on top of playing defensive end. He is described as a nasty player which is something Louisville has lacked recently.

butler Charlie Strong Signs First Class as Louisville Head Coach

Defensive end BJ Butler

The recruit I think is being the most overlooked is running back Kamal Hogan. He has 4.4 speed, but also runs with power. The thing I like about him the most is his athleticism. Hogan is the type of athlete needed to compete at the highest levels of college football, another thing the Cards have lacked recently. Here is a highlight video of Hogan:

All in all, a good first class for Charlie Strong. Think of everything Strong had to do: recruit, put together a staff, recruit, move his family, recruit, learn the depth chart, and recruit. And that’s with only two months to do so.

I think all things considered, Strong signed a solid class. It will definitely be fun to see how this class develops.

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