While Strong is busying preparing his team for Tuesday night's Beef O'Brady's Bowl against Southern Mississippi, Louisville's first year coach received what he labeled,"program changing," recruiting news from five-star Miami (FL) Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater Monday morning.
"The future of Cardinal Football is very bright," Strong tweeted Monday.
The impact of Bridgewater's decision has huge implications for Strong's rebuilding efforts at Louisville. After finishing his first season 6-6, Strong now is lining up the type of talent to consistently make a run at the Big East title and BCS appearances.
"I already had a pretty high opinion of Charlie Strong and this validates that the top players in the country will want to play for Charlie Strong at Louisville," Scout.com national recruiting analyst Scott Kennedy said.
"He is a real weapon," said Scout.com national recruiting editor Allen Wallace. "Despite his ability to run, he's very composed in the pocket and throws extremely well on the move. He's what everybody wants these days – somebody who can make something out of nothing. He's a danger through the air and on the ground."
"I really like Teddy Bridgewater," Kennedy said. "He's so smart and confident with the ball in his hands. He makes good decisions, he makes the right plays, and he's got a whole lot of physical skills. I love the kid."
A former Miami commit, Bridgewater's decision to play for Strong at Louisville could entice more stars from the Sunshine state to join him at UofL – this year and in the future. In fact, three-star wide receiver Eli Rogers has already decided to follow Bridgewater, his high school teammate, to Louisville next season.
"He's going to help Louisville's recruiting because other guys are going to think, 'Hey, Teddy's up there it must be a pretty good place...I need to give Louisville a look," Kennedy said. "He's that kind of a guy in the single most talent-rich area in the country."
On the field, Bridgewater could be a difference-maker for Strong's program. The No. 3-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation, Bridgewater has the ability to impact Louisville's program like former West Virginia star quarterback Pat White, who led the Mountaineers to multiple BCS appearances.
"The kid is just a winner," Kennedy said. "He knows how to make plays. He's a leader and other players follow him."
Possessing enormous talent, Bridgewater is the only five-star recruit presently headed to a Big East program. His decision Monday to play for Louisville has moved the Cardinals 2011 class to the top of Scout.com's Big East recruiting rankings – 11 spots higher than second place Pittsburgh.
With Bridgewater and Rogers in the fold, Louisville also moved higher in the national recruiting rankings. Before Bridgewater's addition, Strong had a solid group of three-star recruits that looked like a Top 40 class. Now, Louisville is knocking on the door of Scout.com's Top 25, checking in at No. 27 in the latest rankings – ahead of Michigan, Kentucky, TCU, Wisconsin and Virginia Tech.
"He's [worth] 300 points," said Kennedy, explaining that five-star recruits are worth 100 points more than four-star prospects in Scout.com's ranking system. "Most of the top classes [nationally] start with a quarterback like Bridgewater."
Bridgewater, a Top 100 national prospect, and DaMarcus Smith, the No. 17 quarterback prospect nationally, also give Louisville the No. 2-ranked incoming quarterback class nationally behind Nebraska.
"They'll battle for supremacy there," Wallace said. "They will probably bring out the best competitively in each other."