RECRUITING HOTBOARD: Louisville's 2011 recruiting class checks in at No. 27 in the Scout.com rankings. Can Charlie Strong land a Top 25 class for the first time in UofL history? If so, he'll need to sign a few of the Cardinals top remaining targets.
Louisville's Top Remaining 2011 Recruiting Targets
SCOOP: Holliman, who recently backed out of his commitment to Ole Miss, made an official visit to Louisville during the season. A four-star prospect who is ranked as the #12 safety nationally, Holliman will announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American bowl in San Antonio, TX this weekend. Though West Virginia and Ole Miss are still on the list, Charlie Strong's Cardinals are the team to beat.
IMPACT: If Holliman commits to Louisville, he would be the third member of the Scout.com 300 for Charlie Strong's program, along with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and wide receiver DeVante Parker. Without question, Holliman would be Louisville's impact signee on defense.
SCOOP: Holliman's teammate, Johnson also made an official visit to Louisville during the season. He also recently reneged on his commitment to Ole Miss and he and Holliman are expected to attend the same college. Johnson will play in the Nike South Florida All-Star (Miami-Dade/Broward) Game Thursday, and he's expected to announce his college decision at the game. Both Holliman and Johnson were traveling buddies of five-star prospect Teddy Bridgewater last summer, and their relationship with the future UofL quarterback likely will pay huge dividends for Charlie Strong's program.
IMPACT: He's the not the biggest defensive back, but Johnson is an impact cover man in the secondary. A ball-hawk with speed and toughness, he'd compete for immediate playing time at corner for Louisville, which lost both starting corners to graduation, next season as a true freshman.
Elkino Watson – Defensive Tackle – 6-3/280 - Miami (FL) Booker T. Washington
SCOOP: It's tough to get a read on Watson these days. Before Urban Meyer's retirement, Watson seemed destined to sign with Florida. All along, word on the recruiting trail was that it would be tough to get the talented defensive tackle out of Florida. Florida State is still heavily involved, and hometown Miami likely will try to keep him home to play for new coach Al Golden. Watson visited Louisville last month the same weekend as Teddy Bridgewater and Eli Rogers, and Clint Hurtt has proven he knows how to ‘steal' recruits out of south Florida. Louisville appears a very serious option for the three-star defensive lineman from south Florida.
IMPACT: Louisville needs a top defensive tackle prospect in this class. Watson is Charlie Strong's No. 1 recruiting target. If the Cardinals beat out Florida's Big Three powerhouses for Watson's services, it would be a coup of major proportions as Watson could make a major impact early in his career.
OTHER OPTIONS: Jonathan Battle, 6-3/285, Americus, Ga. (No. 67 DT); Chris Jones, 6-5/265, Jacksonville (FL) Raines (No. 47 DT).
SCOOP: Louisville is looking to add one, maybe two, more offensive lineman to their 2011 recruiting class, and Kaleb Johnson, a three-star prospect, is at the top of Charlie Strong's wish-list. Johnson has already visited Rutgers and North Carolina, and will visit Louisville next week. Miami could also factor in down the stretch. Johnson wants to win big in college and be part of a talented recruiting class. Who better to block for than a five-star quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater) from your home state at a program on the rise nationally?
IMPACT: Louisville will try to close the deal with Johnson on his official visit Jan. 14-16. If they can, Teddy Bridgewater and DaMarcus Smith will feel more secure in the pocket with Johnson, one of the top offensive guard prospects nationally, protecting them from harm.
OTHER OPTIONS: James Elliott, 6-3/290, Pensacola, Fla. (No. 63 OG); Spencer Region, 6-6/320, Cullman, AL (No. 20 OG).
Andrew Buie – Running Back – 5-10/195 - Jacksonville (FL) Trinity Christian
SCOOP: Buie might not be the biggest or fastest running back prospect, but he's extremely productive and a winner. Buie led his team to the Florida Class 1A state championship this season, rushing for 242 yards and four touchdowns in the title game. It appears a two-horse race for Buie between Louisville and Auburn. Buie is scheduled to visit Louisville Jan. 14, and Auburn the following weekend. Arkansas, Ole Miss and South Carolina remain in the mix.
IMPACT: Buie would be the perfect fit in Mike Sanford's spread offense at Louisville. The Cardinals already have studs lined up at quarterback and wide receiver for next year. Now they just need a big-time running back. Buie would be a perfect compliment to Teddy Bridgewater, DaMarcus Smtih, DeVante Parker, Eli Rogers and Charles Gaines.
Jon Davis – Tight End – 6-4/230 - Louisville Eastern
SCOOP: Davis is committed to Kentucky, but the Wildcats are on shaky ground heading into national signing day. A four-star tight end, Davis is expected to make an official visit to Louisville this month. Charlie Strong flipped Kentucky commit Brandon Dunn last year before signing day. Can he flip Davis? This one could be a major story to watch in the coming weeks.
IMPACT: Louisville has a need at tight end after losing Cameron Graham and Pete Nochta to graduation. Louisville throws often to the tight end and Davis noticed that Graham led the Cardinals in receiving this season. Davis likes how Louisville utilizes the tight end, and knows there's an opportunity to play a lot next season.
OTHER OPTIONS: Benson Browne, 6-6/240, Cincinnati, OH. (No. 62 TE)