Visit puts Louisville in top 3 for Harrell

Tampa (Fla) Catholic's T.J. Harrell made a visit to Louisville over the weekend, giving him an opportunity to reunite with a close friend and learn more about the Cardinal program. Cardinal Authority has the latest.

Tampa (Fla) Catholic safety T.J. Harrell was familiar with the Unviersity of Louisville program prior to making a visit on Saturday. The three-star prospect is close friends with freshman cornerback Richard Benjamin and the pair have talked about the Cardinals program a number of times since Benjamin signed with U of L in February.

"I loved it," said Harrell, who also plays running back. "Everything about it was great. The coaches, the players and reuniting with one my friends who I grew up with, Richard Benjamin, who just signed with them."

Because of the discussions between the two, Harrell (6'0, 180) was surprised by impressive facilities, the growing campus and expectations.

"I was expecting it because Richard was talking real high about it and it takes a lot to impress him," he told Cardinal Authority. "It lived up to what Richard has been saying about it."

While the two are close friends, they have never played with or against each other. The chance to play in the same secondary as Benjamin is something that Harrell will strongly consider.

"He's older than me," said Harrell. "We played in the same little league, but he was always a level above me and then we went to different high schools, so I've never been able to play with or against him. I would love to play on the same side of the ball with him."

In addition to Louisville, Harrell has more than two dozen scholarship offers, including many from the ACC, Big 10 and SEC. Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Syracuse and Tennessee are among his many college suitors.

His trip to Louisville has lifted Charlie Strong's program to the top and has Harrell already planning additional visits to the Derby City.

"Top three," he said. "It's got to be, I love Louisville, just from that one trip. I plan on taking more visits there."

"I want to make it one more time during the summer," he added. "If that doesn't work out, I'll take an unofficial during the season and then I'll also use an official during the season."

Who joins the Cardinals among his top three?

"I'm still kind of deciding, but I know Louisville is in it," he said. "I'm still trying to take a few more visits. Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan State, Florida State - I like all these schools, but I'm going to have to start narrowing it down though."

While Harrell hopes to begin trimming his list, a decision doesn't appear to coming soon.

"I'm waiting after the season," he said. "If not signing day, then maybe even after signing day because I really want to take my time with this. It's a big decision and it will determine the next few years of my life."

Harrell is currently rated as the nation's No.33 safety prospect by

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