Louisville recruiting 2014: Poona Ford headlines large Cardinals class

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville already has a big class lined up for 2014, though it doesn't include a lot of elite prospects.

Louisville's recent success certainly hasn't hurt the program's recruiting efforts, though it hasn't resulted in a lot of blue-chip commitments, either. Not yet, anyway. The Cardinals have one of the nation's larger classes with 25 pledges, and the group ranks 23rd nationally, as well as second within the AAC.

A lot of Louisville's verbals came early in the recruiting cycle, though the team did add a trio of players in August, including its most highly-regarded prospect, defensive tackle Poona Ford. Chris Nelson, another DT prospect, and linebacker Isaac Stewart also committed last month.

Here's a glance at some of the top players in the class:

Poona Ford, as mentioned, is a defensive tackle prospect, and the top-rated member of the Louisville class. The Hilton Head (S.C.) High School product is a consensus four-star recruit and the No. 260 overall prospect in the country. He is a top-25 player at his position and a top-10 player in the state of South Carolina.

Daniel Gresham is a consensus three-star fullback from Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal Prep. He is regarded at the second-best fullback in the 2014 class and the No. 405 player overall.

Isaiah Ford, from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Academy, is a three-star wide receiver. The 6'2, 170-pounder is rated as just the No. 53 player at his position, but he had plenty of impressive offers from schools in the Southeast, including Florida, South Carolina and Florida State.

Reggie Bonafon is a three-star dual-threat quarterback from Trinity High School in Louisville. He's been in the fold since January. Bonafon is a consensus top-10 dual-threat QB in this class and one of the top five players from Kentucky.

Michael Johnson is a three-star safety who hails from Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic High School. He's ranked 440th overall and 34th at his position. He passed on an offer from LSU, among other power-conference schools, when he committed to the Cardinals.

Charlie Strong's Florida connections paid more dividends with the commitment of three-star cornerback De'Eric Culver of Tallahassee (Fla.) Amos P. Godby High School. Culver is regarded at the No. 41 player at his position and the No. 532 overall recruit.

On target

Louisville has two major defenders in its sights.

The first is Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods' defensive tackle Daniel Cage, a four-star with top athleticism. The second is linebacker Brandon Lee, a four-star our it Indianapolis (In.) Lawrence Central.

Louisville is also after defensive end Sharieff Rhaheed, of Florida, and offensive tackle Benjamin Knox, also of Florida. Both are three-stars who were previously committed to LSU and Florida, respectively.

How will Louisville's recruiting play in the ACC?

Louisville is moving to the ACC in 2014, so these players will never actually play a down in the AAC.

If Louisville's class were in the ACC, it would be squarely in the second-tier with Virginia Tech, Virginia and N.C. State, behind the first tier of Miami, Florida State and Clemson. Of course, Louisville may see a bump from actually playing in the ACC, and that could come in subsequent years.

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