Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong and his staff are piecing together the top class in the Big East and added a significant piece on Monday morning in Louisville native Daniel Gresham, a running back/fullback from Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints.
A former Texas commit who opened up his recruitment in May, Gresham's decision to commit to the Cardinals in advance of a visit next weekend ($) came as something of a surprise -- the 5'10, 235-pound bruising back named the Miami Hurricanes the leader after a visit in early June and Ole Miss was also thought to be high on his list. A February visit to Oxford just before Signing Day had put Gresham in some hot water with Texas coaches, and his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions were all in favor of Miami or Ole Miss, with the Hurricanes trending strongly after the announcement from Gresham that they were his leader.
The nation's top fullback by 247Sports and in the service's composite rankings, Gresham is a consensus three-star prospect 247Sports considers the only current four-star pledge in a Cardinal class that stands at now at 16. As the only running back in the class, Gresham was sold by Strong and company on becoming a feature back in the Louisville offense, a promise he never received from the Texas coaching staff, a consideration in his decommitment from the 'Horns.
More than just a true fullback, Gresham operated both as a blocker and a load back for an All Saints team that went undefeated last fall. Dedicated to improving his breakaway speed last summer, the Kentucky native worked to get lean and reduce his 40 time, efforts that paid off with more long runs.
Here's more from the SB Nation Recruiting scouting report on Gresham:
With his solid 225-pound frame, Gresham has the strength in his lower body to step through arm tackles when lined up as a tailback. In fact, he clearly likes to punish opponents -- they take some vicious hits from Gresham even when they are able to bring him down and there were plenty of them in 2012 who were not able to accomplish that feat, with several plays on film when Gresham broke two or more tackles and was able to navigate his way through heavy traffic into the open field.
Once he gets into the open field, he displays a nice burst and pad level. And though his competition level at All Saints isn't particularly high, he doesn't get caught from behind and does a nice job of keeping the ball high and tight to his body to ensure ball security, a struggle for many young running backs who are often lucky to have two points of contact on the ball. He can also flash a nice stiff arm.
In terms of his feet, Gresham isn't a jump cutter, but can slide cut and change directions at time. He won't ever be mistaken for a 170-pound scatback, but his change of direction ability and overall agility is strong for his size.
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