For more on Cardinals football, visit Louisville blog Card Chronicle.
Charlie Strong and the Louisville Cardinals had a pretty good 2012 -- the team won 11 games, including a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida, and Strong earned a big contract extension that will pay him upwards of $4 million per season. Strong has won 25 games in three seasons at Louisville, and he's poised to take a strong program into the ACC come 2014.
The Cardinals added to that foundation with their 2013 recruiting class, which while not highly-regarded by recruiting services, is certainly not without talent. The big score for Louisville was wide receiver James Quick, who decided to stay in-state and play for the Cardinals despite offers from powers like Alabama and Ohio State.
With 17 players in total, Louisville's class isn't huge, which is one reason it ranks just 57th nationally in Rivals' estimation. But Strong added potential to his roster, and of those 17 players, 13 are three-star prospects.
Bud Elliott’s grade
C. Sugar Bowl Champions. A coach that turned down Tennessee and got a huge raise. Finally getting out of the Big East. And yet Louisville failed to distinguish its class from those of Rutgers, USF or Cincinnati. Seriously. Two four-star players. That's it. Granted, this was a small class, but even so, Louisville's class on a per-player average would rate just seventh in the ACC -- where Louisville will begin play in 2014. In fairness, they did all last summer's legwork with "Charlie's leaving and the Big East is falling apart" hanging over their heads. Strong and his staff need a much better haul in 2014.
Top three players
James Quick -- Quick is a four-star prospect according to Rivals, the top player in the state of Kentucky, and the ninth-best wide receiver in the class of 2013. He helped his high school win three consecutive state titles, and he finished the 2012 season with more than 1,400 yards receiving. While Louisville returns the majority of its leading pass catchers, Quick could see the field early in his career.
Kyle Bolin -- The Cardinals don't have a pressing need at quarterback right now -- Teddy Bridgewater has two more years of eligibility -- but Bolin could end up being the man to eventually take the reins of the Louisville offense. He's another in-state kid that Charlie Strong managed to keep home, and he is the sixth-best prospect in the state.
De'Asian Richardson -- Strong has connections in the state of Florida from back when he was an assistant for the Gators, and that's been paying dividends for Louisville. Nearly half the program's 2013 class hails from Florida, including defensive end De'Asian Richardson. He's rated the 19th-best player at his position by Rivals and had offers from the Gators and the Seminoles, among numerous others.
Top three rival classes
Future ACC foes Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech smoked Louisville this year, but as for current rivals (most of whose freshmen will never face Louisville, other than Pitt's):
Pittsburgh --The Panthers built the best class in the Big East around some stellar in-state talent, including offensive lineman Dorian Johnson, who is considered by Rivals to be the second-best player at his position in the 2013 class. Pittsburgh also added four-star talents in wide receiver Tyler Boyd and quarterback Tra'Von Chapman.
Rutgers --The Scarlet Knights did a fine job of mining for talent in the northeast and kept some key prospects from leaving New Jersey, including athlete Nadir Barnwell, who had offers from several SEC programs. Barnwell is the class headliner and is ranked as the ninth-best athlete in the country -- his position at the college level has not been set in stone just yet.
South Florida -- USF went through a coaching change following a dreadful 3-9 season, but that didn't prevent the Bulls from putting together a solid class. Defensive tackle Derrick Calloway and defensive back Lamar Robbins, who are both four-star prospects according to Rivals, are probably the best talents in USF's class.
Biggest National Signing Day drama
The Cards did not make any additions on signing day, but missed on Jason Hatcher and Jermaine Grace.
Notes from SB Nation blogs
Card Chronicle is pleased with the lack of drama:
It appears there will be no drama for Louisville this national signing day, and that's a good thing.
Charlie Strong and company have received signed letters of intent from each one of the 14 commitments it was expecting to on Wednesday. Couple that with quarterback Brett Nelson and defensive tackle Finesse Middleton, who are already taking classes at U of L, and Louisville's recruiting class of 2013 currently rests at the expected number of 16.
Official 2013 Louisville class
|Willie Bailey||CB||6-2||172||Hallandale, Fla.||Hallandale (Florida)|
|Richard Benjamin||CB||6-1||195||Tampa, Fla.||Tampa Bay Technical|
|Kyle Bolin||QB||6-3||185||Lexington, Ky.||Lexington Catholic|
|Chandler Bridges||OT||6-4||270||Flowery Branch, Ga.||Flowery Branch|
|Lyn Clark||LB||6-2||225||New Orleans, La.||O. Perry Walker|
|Donel Elam||S||6-1||200||Orange Park, Fla.||Fleming Island|
|Cameron Fraser||OL||6-4||290||Phenix City, Ala.||Central|
|Keith Kelsey||LB||6-1||217||Gainesville, Fla.||Gainesville|
|Skylar Lacy||OL||6-6||290||Indianapolis, Ind.||Southport|
|Finesse Middleton||DT||5-11||245||Gadsden, Ala.||Gadsden City|
|Brett Nelson||QB||6-4||220||Chula Vista, Calif.||St. Francis (Southwestern CC)|
|James Quick||WR||6-1||180||Louisville, Ky.||Trinity|
|De'Asian Richardson||DT||6-3||285||Jacksonville, Fla.||First Coast|
|Terrence Ross||S||6-2||188||Apopka, Fla.||Wekiva|
|Kyle Shortridge||DT||6-2||273||Loxahatchee, Fla.||Seminole Ridge|
|Keith Towbridge||TE||6-3||230||Toledo, Ohio||Central Catholic|
|Chucky Williams||CB||6-2||180||Hialeah, Fla.|| Champagnat Catholic
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