Strong's recruiting class, ranked No. 51 nationally before Brown and Dawson made their announcements, is on the rise. With Brown and Dawson in the fold, Louisville's recruiting class moved up 19 spots to No. 33 in Scout.com's team recruiting rankings.
Brown, Dawson and James Burgess, a three-star outside linebacker from Homestead, Fla. who switched his commitment from Miami to Louisville last week at the Semper Fidelis All-American game in Phoenix, give Charlie Strong one of the top linebacker classes in the country. With those three leading the way, Louisville's linebacker commits rank fourth-best nationally, behind only Michigan, LSU and Alabama.
Though Brown is listed at 6'2, 225-pounds, his athleticism and speed could allow him to play inside or outside for the Cardinals. Preston Brown seems a certain starter at linebacker next season for the Cardinals. Brown, who recorded 113 tackles while leading Miami Norland to the Florida Class 5A state championship, will have a chance to earn a starting spot this spring.
"I like Louisville and I think I can play early there too," Brown told Scout.com. "The coaches are a big reason why I chose them."
While Dawson won't arrive at Louisville until this summer, the talented 6'2, 230-pound linebacker could step in for Heyman next season. Dawson was one of the top linebackers week during practice for the US Army Bowl.
"They have a senior middle linebacker graduating this year," Dawson said. "So that position is open to anybody. It will be a great opportunity to compete for that starting position. I'm pretty sure that Louisville is the best fit for me, so that's why I chose them."
Burgess, whose father played at Miami before the NFL, was one of the top players in the Semper Fidelis All-American game last week, making plays all over the field. He'll benefit from Louisville's off-season strength program and could make an impact on the field next season because of his athleticism, sideline to sideline ability and nose for the football.
"Louisville's on the rise," Burgess said. "We're going to try to make it linebackerVille. I'm trying to win Big East (Player of the) year my freshman year."
Even with three big-time linebackers in the fold, including two who will be on campus this week, Louisville might not be done recruiting at the position. The Cardinals are still in the running for Josh Harvey-Clemons, who played in the US Army All-American game last week with Brown and Dawson. Harvey-Clemons, a four-star prospect, has narrowed his options to Florida, Georgia, Florida State and the Cards.
"Keith Brown is committed to Louisville and I've been talking to him a lot," Dawson said. "f I go there and Josh Harvey-Clemons goes there it will be like ‘Linebacker U."