U of L football: Top Newcomers

The ninth-ranked Cardinals welcomes Ohio into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in just a few days for the season opener. Here's a look at a few newcomers that should make an impact this fall.

One of the reasons that Charlie Strong's fourth team at the University of Louisville is ranked among the top ten in the nation to begin the season is that the roster welcomes back 19 starters. Another reason is the number of newcomers that should help the Sugar Bowl champions become an even better team in 2013.

Here's a look at five, plus one, that should make an impact for the Cardinals this season.

Gerald Christian: Tight End

The Florida transfer has been with the Cardinal program for over a year and is expected to play significant minutes, possibly starting, this fall. The 6-foot-3, 242-pound junior excels in both run blocking and in the passing game. Rated among the top ten tight ends in the nation as a senior at Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer high school, Christian could become a difference-maker in 2013.

Robert Clark: Wide Receiver/Returns

Clark transferred to Louisville from Florida with Christian. The former high school teammates are both poised to become big contributors this season. Strong said the 5-foot-9, 173-pound junior's strengths are "tremendous speed and a lot of quickness." Strong also compared Clark's energy to that of defensive lineman Lorenzo Mauldin, "every play he goes hard." Clark is slated to start at receiver against Ohio on Sunday. He's also listed a top the punt return depth chart.

James Quick: Wide Receiver/Returns

The Louisville Trinity product has been impressive since he began individual workouts this summer. The US Army All-American game MVP begins the season listed second on the depth chart behind senior Damian Copeland. Quick displayed very good hands catching the ball and blazing speed in the open field during the open practices. Strong also said that Quick will be involved in both punt and kick returns.

Michael Dyer: Running Back

Dyer has been out of football for a year, but Charlie Strong said "that it didn't take long" for the 2011 BCS Championship Offensive Player of the Game to get back in the groove. The addition of Dyer to the Cardinals backfield brings an athlete that can run with both speed and power. "Dyer is really exceptional because he can do both," said Strong. "He has the speed and he has the power."

De'Asian Richardson: Nose Tackle

"He is big, he is big, and he is big," is how defensive coordinator Vance Bedford described the true freshman defensive lineman. While Richardson currently "looks like a big freshman out of high school," Bedford was high on his potential. Injuries at the nose tackle position has created a need for depth and the product of Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast may be the benefactor. Richardson begins the season listed behind junior Brandon Dunn as the second nose tackle.

Redshirt Freshman to Watch: Reserve quarterback Will Gardner has rebounded from an knee injury and secured the number two spot on the depth chart. Gardner should see some time if the Cardinals open comfortable leads on their opponents.

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