Strong Talk: NSD Wrap-up

Charlie Strong announced his third recruiting class on National Signing Day, a 24-man group that meets needs at several key positions. What does Strong think about his new recruits?

Charlie Strong announced his third recruiting class on National Signing Day, a 24-man group that meets needs at several key positions, including linebacker, offensive line, defensive line and tight end.

Headlined by four-star linebackers Keith Brown and Nick Dawson, Strong commented at length about his new recruits. Here are highlights from his Wednesday press conference:

Strong on in-state vs. out of state recruiting:
"The reason why we go into that state is we know this – once we recruit this state, we know there are not enough players within this state. You have to take the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky and you have to split the recruits. Then, you have to go outside the state to get you some really good football players."

Strong on what he looks for in recruits:
"You get up in the state and go battle Florida and Florida State. You get Georgia and you go battle Georgia. In Alabama, you battle Alabama. We want to battle those states because those are the types of players to turn this program around. It's all about character. It's all about speed. It's about athletic ability."

Charlie Strong called Louisville's 2012 recruiting class 'special.'
Strong on Louisville's 2012 recruiting class:
"We signed 24 players – 18 we signed today and six are already enrolled. Of the 18 players we signed today, five are offensive linemen, three are defensive linemen and two are linebackers (four overall in the class). That is what we really needed in our program. You know this – the game is won up front. The goal is to get offensive and defensive linemen because that's where it starts. I always tell our staff and we laugh and tease about it, ‘You can go find a skill guy. They are everywhere.' It is always hard to go get those offensive and defensive linemen. Then you look at the linebacker position, an area we have to address."

Strong on Tom Jurich's support:
"I would just like to say this about our Athletic Director Tom Jurich. He provided us with unlimited resources. We can go and recruit wherever we want; nothing is ever said. He wants that to happen within this program (to go and win championships)."

Strong on why his staff excels with recruiting:
"Every coach is involved in (the recruiting process) and that is what we have to have. The parents coming into your program see that every coach is involved and they get excited. They see our support staff and what they do. Everybody is all locked in and that is why we have the recruiting success that we have."

Strong on offensive line recruits:
"You have guys that are big bodied guys that can help you and will come here and continue to develop. I don't know how much they will figure into our plan (next year). The last three years we have signed 15 offensive linemen and that's where you want to build your team."

Strong on Florida transfers:
"They're in the program right now. Robert Clark is a little guy with a lot of speed. And Gerald Christian is a big tight end who is only going to get bigger. He's athletic and Clark has speed. That's what you look for when you go out and recruit."

Strong on QB recruit Will Gardner:
"Will is rangy. We really like Will Gardner. He's 6'4, he's able to move and throws the ball very well. We're a play-action, boot-leg type of team and that's what he can do. Who knows what we're going to do with him? If we redshirt him he'll be two years removed from Teddy Bridgewater and that will give him two years after Teddy leaves. We needed a quarterback in this class."

Strong on Nick Dawson and Keith Brown announcing decision on national television:
"It shows you where the program is heading. It was really special at the time for the program."

Strong on linebackers helping out next season:
"That's a position we need help at right now. We have four guys coming in that are going to have a chance to compete and earn a position and play."

Strong on advantage of enrolling early:
"What happens when you get a guy in early they get a chance to workout and understand the pace. And they're able to get a (head start) on academics. It is good to get them here early. They get a jump on the program."

Strong on four-star safety Gerod Holliman:
"You look at the free safety position where he's going to lineup Calvin Pryor is sitting there right now. You would like to think with the guys coming in they can help us somewhere."

Strong on recruiting success in Florida:
"Coach Hurtt has ties to Miami. When I was at Florida I recruited Miami. Coach Carter has recruited Miami. We have six or seven guys on our staff that have recruited the state of Florida. Then when you look at the success Teddy Bridgewater, Eli Rogers and John Miller had as freshmen….when recruits see their success they say, 'I could go there and play and have a chance to be successful."

Strong on the tight ends:
"Hubbell is here right now, he's a junior college transfer. It's a position where we needs these guys and that's a position that we needed to continue to build on."

Strong on RB Brandon Radcliff:
"He runs with a lot of power. He'll get a chance to come in here and compete for us. Coach Carter was excited when we took Brandon Radcliff. He's what you look for in a running back, a guy that can move the chains, and has enough speed to out-run people."

Strong on his goal for the Louisville program:
"What is our vision and plan? What we want to do every year is compete for championship. If we continue to have success and continue to recruit the way we have been this program is going to continue to get bigger and better. There's no reason this should not be a very successful program."

Strong on what type of players he looks for:
"On both sides of the football we look for playmakers. We want guys on defense who can make plays, get off blocks, tackle people and intercept it in the secondary. On offense, it's all about guys being playmakers."

Strong's philosophy on redshirting:
"We don't talk about redshirting. We talk about if you're good enough you'll play. We don't play favoritism. If you're good enough you'll play. It's all about the best players and our players explain it to recruits on their visits. We give players a chance to play."

Strong on 2013 recruiting needs:
"We're probably one more class away from being to where we need to be. Next year's class won't be very big because we may have 12 scholarships trying to catch up the last three years. Defensive back - we need to build there (in 2013). We won't have to take many offensive linemen, but we're going to have to build in the defensive secondary."

Strong on 2012 recruits:
"These guys wanted to be here. You look at Keith Brown, Nick Dawson, Hunter Bowles, (Joe) Manley, they wanted to be in this program. That's really fulfilling as a coach when we don't have to twist an arm at the end to come here. They wanted to be a part of it because they see something special that's getting ready to happen here."

Strong on LB Nick Dawson:
"He's a big backer, he's physical and he'll be able to help us because he has enough size."

Strong on the importance of local recruiting:
"You want to take care of home first. We didn't get any players from Jefferson County, but we did get Hunter Bowles and (Joe) Manley. It's always taking care of your state first. The good, solid rivalry between Louisville and Kentucky will be built when we can keep the good in-state recruits at home."

Strong on WKU signee Anthony Wales:
"I can't comment because we didn't get him. I can't talk about him because he's not one of our signees. When we recruit young men and offer them a scholarship, then it's on them to decide where they want to go."

Strong on potential staff additions:
"I will release that in the next few days to see where we are staff-wise."

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