Strong Scores New Recruits

Charlie Strong added two new commitments - Florida standout FS Terrance Ross and OT Shamar Johnson - to Louisville's 2013 recruiting class.

Charlie Strong added two key commitments to Louisville's 2013 recruiting class Wednesday night.

Terrence Ross, a 6'2, 190 pound free safety from Apopka, Fla., and Shamar Johnson, a 6'6, 295 pound offensive tackle from Pensacola, Fla., add speed and power to the Cardinals seven-man recruiting class.

With Ross and fellow Florida safety Donel Elam in the fold, Strong's staff has already met needs in the secondary. An athletic prospect, Ross chose the Cardinals over Wake Forest, Cincinnati, West Virginia, NC State and several others.

"I've always kept in touch with Coach BJ [Brian Jean-Mary] and Coach Strong and we have a strong connection," Ross told "They were my first [offer] and he [Strong] used to coach my dad and uncle so that helped."

Ross hadn't visited Louisville before committing to Strong, but his trust in the Cardinals head coach gave him confidence to go ahead and make his college decision. Ross said he plans to visit Louisville soon, though.

Terrence Ross is rising fast in Florida.
"He's a really good coach and he has a good connection with the players," Ross said. "I just wanted to be a part of their program and help build [Louisville] up. I've heard it's a great place."

Though Ross missed several games as a junior, he's showed enough promise to rate among the Top 100 players in Florida by at least one major recruiting service. Despite playing for a smaller school, Ross' highlight tape has been generating serious recruiting buzz this spring.

"I bring speed, I can read the field and I'm not afraid to make a hit," Ross said. "I'm a good athlete and I can play anywhere. They said they love how I played the game with passion and that's why they want me."

Shortly after committing to Strong, several Louisville commits, including four-star quarterback Kyle Bolin, four-star cornerback Ryan White and three-star tight end Keith Towbridge reached out to their future teammate to welcome him to the Cardinal family.

"A couple of the other commits called me tonight and we just hit it off," Ross said. "Me and [Kyle Bolin] are going to try to come up for a visit together."

Ross' decision simply started the ball rolling for the Cardinals. A couple hours after Ross' commitment broke on, Louisville had landed their future left tackle in Shamar Johnson.

An athletic prospect, Johnson began his high school career as tight end before outgrowing the position and moving to tackle. He possesses long arms, quick feet and excels as a blindside pass protector. Also a basketball player, Johnson promises to be a major addition for Strong's program.

Shamar Johnson is a promising OT prospect for Charlie Strong's program.
Like they did with Ross, Louisville jumped in early with Johnson and it paid off. Though the Cardinals and FIU are his only offers at the moment, SEC powers Florida and Alabama, the defending national champions, have been showing interest. Now Strong has secured a commitment from Johnson before any other BCS program extends an offer.

"Me and Coach [Ron] Dugans have a good relationship," Johnson said. "I just felt like it's a great opportunity and it felt like another home for me. It's real good what he's [Strong] doing to get Louisville back on track and I just want to be a part of what he has got going on."

Dugans paid a visit to Johnson on Monday paving the way for his commitment. The Louisville assistant told the athletic prospect that he possessed the qualities the Cardinals were looking for in an offensive lineman.

"They said they had to get bigger people who can move pretty quick," Johnson said. "I'm a big guy and I move pretty quick. My strength is working hard and trying to be a leader for other players."

After talking with Ross, Bolin, Louisville's first 2013 commitment, also reached out to Johnson - a smart move considering Johnson likely will be protecting the Lexington quarterback's backside in the future.

"He told me Louisville's a great place and I'm just looking forward to meeting him in person," said Johnson, who also plans to visit Louisville this summer.

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