Signing Day Breakdown

Now that National Signing Day is over, InsideTheVille.com breaks down Charlie Strong's highly-regarded 2012 football recruiting class.

Prime Time Moment: The highlight of Louisville's 2012 recruiting class were the announcements by four-star linebackers Keith Brown and Nick Dawson on national television during the U.S. Army All-American game. The publicity those announcements generated for Charlie Strong's program during one of the nation's premier all-star games can't be understated.

Late Catch: The top late addition for Louisville was three-star defensive end Sheldon Rankins, who chose the Cardinals over a host of BCS-caliber schools, including USF and Wake Forest. Rankins could challenge for significant playing time at strong side end next season.

Flip the Switch: Louisville's most significant commitment 'flip' was convincing three-star linebacker James Burgess not to follow his NFL father's footsteps to Miami and instead play for the Cardinals. A Semper Fidelis All-American, Burgess backed out of his commitment to the Hurricanes and enrolled early at Louisville, where he'll make an impact at outside linebackers because of his speed, athleticism and hard nosed play.

Early Birds: Besides Burgess, Keith Brown, JUCO tight end Ryan Hubbell, and prep school safety Gerod Holliman also have already enrolled at Louisville and will take part in spring practice for the Cardinals. Brown and Burgess could make instant impacts at linebacker, while Hubbell and Holliman, a four-star prospect, will challenge for jobs at tight end and safety.

Fresh Start: Florida transfers Gerald Christian and Robert Clark, and Tennessee transfer Matt Milton will get fresh starts at Louisville after enrolling for the spring semester. Christian, a four-star prospect who was rated the No. 3 TE prospect in high school, possesses NFL size, athleticism and potential. Clark, a speedy wide out, could also excel as a return man. Milton, 6'5, is a former four-star recruit who signed with Lane Kiffin out of high school.

Play Like a Champion: Offensive linemen Sid Anvoots and Joe Manley, and defensive tackle DeAngelo Brown all led their teams to state titles. Anvoots help guide Indianapolis (IN) Bishop Chatard to the Indiana Class 3A state championship, while Manley paved the way for Bowling Green's perfect season and Class 5A state title. Brown led Savannah Christian to a perfect season and Georgia Class A state championship.

Walking Wounded: Will Gardner, a three-star quarterback and Devontre Parnell and Kevin Houchins, three-star cornerbacks, all had their seasons cut short by knee injuries. The 6'5 Gardner is Louisville's only QB recruit, while Parnell and Houchins are potential playmakers in the secondary and as return specialists.

Big Men on Campus: Abraham Garcia (6'5, 340), DeAndre Herron (6'6, 330), Joe Manley (6'4, 320) will provide much needed size and depth for Louisville's offensive line. Garcia, one of the top linemen in Florida, allowed just one sack in four years in high school and projects as Louisville's future left tackle. Herron, projects at right tackle, while Manley probably will see action as a guard.

One That Got Away: Louisville lost two players on NSD, but the biggest loss was DT Dequan Ivery, who signed with Miami. LB commit Patrick Jean also signed with FIU.


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