Strong class meets needs

There may not be an offensive star the caliber of Michael Bush, Brian Brohm or Teddy Bridgewater, but Charlie Strong's 2012 recruiting class is one of the very best in Louisville football history from top to bottom, meeting key needs at linebacker, tight end and both sides of the line of scrimmage.

There may not be an offensive star the caliber of Michael Bush, Brian Brohm or Teddy Bridgewater, but Charlie Strong's 2012 recruiting class is one of the very best in Louisville football history from top to bottom.

Louisville's main objectives with the 2012 recruiting class were four-fold: restock talent at linebacker; add quality depth and size on both sides of the line; and find immediate impact players at tight end. On all four counts, the Cardinals met their needs.

Let's take a closer look at how Strong's outstanding 2012 recruiting class met Louisville's needs:

Impact Linebacker Class

Charlie Strong need to land a strong group of linebackers and delivered one of the nation's top five ranked groups. Led by U.S. Army All-Americans and four-star prospects Keith Brown and Nick Dawson, Strong signed two of the nation's top linebackers. Brown, who is already enrolled at UofL, and Dawson could emerge as starters early in their careers. James Burgess, a former Miami commit, is one of the top ten linebackers from Florida. Burgess, a Semper Fidelis All-American, also enrolled early at Louisville. Both Brown and Burgess will take part in spring practice for Strong's Cardinals. Together, Brown, Dawson and Burgess comprise the best linebacker class in Louisville history.

Strengthening the Trenches

Louisville's offensive line was a weak-link last season, lacking depth and experience. That won't be the case with the additions of five outstanding offensive line prospects, headlined by three-star prospects DeAndre Herron (6'5, 330), Abraham Garcia (6'6, 345), Sid Anvoots (6'4, 285) and Joe Manley (6'5, 320). Herron and Garcia, who allowed just one sack in four years, are pegged as tackles, while Manley and T.C. Klusman (6'4, 275) project as guards. Anvoots, a first-team Indiana All-State selection, could end up as Louisville's future center.

On the defensive line, Strong landed monster defensive tackle DeAngelo Brown (6'1, 295). Brown was the top defensive tackle on UofL's board and can clog the middle. Sheldon Rankins (6'3, 275) is a talented three-star strong side defensive end who could make an impact next season. Pedro Sibiea (6'3, 265) is raw, but is loaded with potential. All four prospects are impressive athletes who move well and are physical at the point of attack.

Playmakers at Tight End

With the departure of starting tight end Josh Chichester, Louisville needed to find some immediate help at the position for next season. Charlie Strong's staff found it in junior college transfer Ryan Hubbell (6'4, 230) and Georgia high school standout Larry Jefferson (6'5, 225). Hubbell, one of the top JUCO tight ends nationally, should challenge for a starting job this spring, while Jefferson possesses next level size, athleticism and speed. Both Hubbell and Jefferson are blessed with good hands. Strong also signed Glasgow standout Hunter Bowles (6'4, 245) a physical tight end who should aid Louisville's running game with his strength and ability as a blocker. Louisville also welcomes Florida transfer Gerald Christian (6'3, 240), a former four-star prospect who was rated the No. 3 tight end coming out of high school. Christian will have to sit out next season but will have two years of remaining eligibility.


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