Lorenzo Mauldin spent his freshmen season filling in where needed. He began as a special teams performer and reserve tight end, before being moved back to defensive end late in the season. Now midway through his sophomore campaign, the product of Atlanta has began to make a difference on the Cardinals defensive front.
Against South Florida, Mauldin was a difference-maker registering multiple big plays in Louisville‘s 27-25 come-from-behind win. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end recorded six tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss, to go with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry.
"To be honest, I'm just working hard," Mauldin said following the Cardinals win. "If I go up against a good competitor, he's going to have to work. They say I'm a beast, so I have to live up to that expectation."
One of his big plays on Saturday afternoon came while USF was threatening late in the first half. With the Cards leading 14-3, USF marched 60 yards to the U of L 31 yard line. With 26 seconds remaining in the first half, Mauldin ended the threat by bringing Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels to the turf, while also forcing and recovering a fumble.
"I bull-rushed the tackle and came inside," described Mauldin. "I was supposed to stay outside, but I came inside because he stepped up. Coach Hurtt told us not to go past the quarterback, so that's the reason why I came inside."
"I saw that he was scrambling, so I grabbed for him. I thought, OK, I have a chance to strip it because coach said that BJ Daniels carries the ball like a loaf of bread. This was my chance to get the ball out, so it was kind of tough, but I used all the strength I had to strip the ball out, then grabbing it and falling to the ground."
Two weeks earlier, in Louisville's 45-35 victory at Pittsburgh, Mauldin registered 1.5 sacks and a quarterback hurry. His 4.5 sacks leads the Cardinals and ranks 5th in the Big East.
"The thing about him is that he only knows one speed and he goes hard all the time," U of L head coach Charlie Strong said. "He's exciting to watch right now. The last two weeks he's played extremely well. He's one of those guys that can turn it on and really rush the passer."
His high motor keeps Strong and his assistants on alert throughout the week during practice.
"As hard as he goes in a game, he goes that hard in practice," said Strong. "Every day at practice, you kind of laugh, because you ask him to please slow down and stay away from Teddy. We when go offense versus defense, you cringe every time [Teddy] runs, because he'll beat the tackle and he'll be right upon Teddy."
The sophomore's 20 total tackles is seventh on the team, while he leads the Cardinals in tackles for a loss (5.5) and sacks (4.5).