Louisville's fifth-year seniors

The University of Louisville football team will say goodbye to 20 seniors on Saturday before a noon game against Memphis. Among the seniors will be seven who are fifth-year seniors for the Cardinals. Here's a look at those players.

University of Louisville linebacker George Durant said you can call him and a group of his buddies the '09 boys' or ‘old relics.'

Durant is talking about the seven players who are the fifth-year seniors for the Cardinals, meaning they were recruited by the previous staff.

"We have a special bond," Durant said. "We all came in together and a lot of people ask us about the old days. The ancient times."

The five-year players include: Durant, wide receiver Damian Copeland, safety Hakeem Smith, linebacker Champ Lee, offensive lineman Kamran Joyer, offensive lineman Chris Walker and defensive lineman Roy Philon.

Here's a look at each of those players:

Damian Copeland

6-1, 182, WR

Hampered by injuries early during his career, Copeland has been the team's leading receiver each of the past two seasons. He had 50 catches for 628 yards and two touchdowns as a junior and 42 catches for 600 yards and four TDs this season. Copeland is from Bradenton, Fla., and is called "Honey Mustard" because of his blonde Mohawk. Copeland was a redshirt in 2009, played in only eight games in 2010 and was injured after one game in 2011. He has aspirations for playing at the next level and will likely get a look from NFL teams.

QUOTE: "It's been a long journey for me. I know the crowd is going to be rocking this Saturday. Just to come from staying home in December to where our program is today is amazing. It's a special day."

George Durant

6-0, 245, LB

Durant is a former walk-on who worked his way into a scholarship and a starting role at one of the linebacker spots. A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Durant played in three games in 2010 and saw action in 10 games two years ago. As a junior, Durant started eight of 13 games and registered 37 tackles and forced a fumble. He had a career-high nine tackles against Cincinnati last season. As a senior, Durant has played in nine games and has 13 tackles, one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hurry. Durant says he hopes to play at the next level. He will graduate from U of L in December.

QUOTE: "I have thought about it a lot. It's the last game in front of the home crowd. There are a lot of memories."

Champ Lee

6-0, 215, LB

A native of Lakeland, Fla., Lee has been a key special teams player and reserve for the Cardinals. After a redshirt year in 2009, Lee played in eight games on special teams as a freshman in Charlie Strong's first season. He had four tackles in 12 games as a junior, while playing in all 13 last season with 15 tackles. Lee started a game at linebacker last season and blocked a kick against Pittsburgh. Lee has played in all 10 games this season and has 13 tackles, including one sack.

Kamran Joyer

6-3, 285, OL

Joyer has started games on the offensive line during three seasons, including five this season. A native of Tampa, Fla., Joyer redshirted his first year at U of L and then missed all of the 2010 season after injuring his foot during fall practice. He played in three games, including a start against Marshall, as a sophomore in 2011. Joyer was injured again last season some but played in four games, making starts against Pittsburgh and in the Sugar Bowl against Florida. He was injured in fall practice again this season but has returned and is the right guard.

Roy Philon

6-3, 290, DT

A native of Lexington, Ky., Philon has turned into one of the top players on the defensive side of the ball. A two-star prospect out of high school, Philon started four games and played in nine as a freshman in 2010. He had 12 tackles, saw that number increase to 36 in 12 games – six starts – as a sophomore. Philon had 27 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, last season in 13 games. He started seven and has started all 10 games this season. Philon is the seventh-leading tackler this season with 32, including 12 tackles for a loss and four sacks. He has 106 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks during his career.

QUOTE: "I've played a lot of games here, started a lot of games here so it's going to be emotional. I'll have all my brothers around me."

Hakeem Smith

6-1, 179, S

One of the most decorated U of L players in recent memory, Smith has started 48 straight games – all 48 games he's played in during his career – and is likely a four-year all-conference performer. Smith had 88 tackles as a freshman in 2010 after redshirting in '09. He had one sack and followed that up with 84 tackles as a sophomore and 73 as a junior. Smith had one interception as a sophomore and has two picks and four pass break-ups this season. He has 33 tackles this season, including one tackle for a loss and one interception. He has 275 tackles during his career, including 13 tackles for a loss.

QUOTE: "As years go on, expectations change and we went from being picked last in the conference to being number one in the conference. The attitude has changed. Everybody is having fun compared to the previous years."

Chris Walker

6-3, 300, OL

A walk-on from Ballard High School, Walker has been a key scout team player during his career at U of L. Senior defensive tackle Brandon Dunn said Walker "has made me better every day," and U of L coach Charlie Strong lauded his play against the top defense. Walker graduates in December and wants a job in sales.

QUOTE: "I have thought about it. It's always in the back of your mind about being here for five years and what it all means. Coming from (Steve) Kragthorpe and going 4-8 and next two years going 7-6 and winning the Sugar Bowl the next year, it's just really amazing."

Cardinal Authority Top Stories