NSD Flashback: Louisville's top-rated

With National Signing Day just a few days away, Cardinal Authority continues to look back at previous recruiting moments. Here's a glance back at the top-rated commitments in recent Cardinal football history

Here's a look at the top-rated commitments in each class for the University of Louisville, dating back to the start of the first Bobby Petrino era.

The list includes some of the more impactful players to ever suit for the Cardinals program. It's a group that is made up of seven in-city prospects and four from Miami, Fla. There are multiple Mr. Kentucky Football winners and U.S. Army All-Americans.

2014

Reggie Bonnafon
Quarterback
Louisville Trinity

RESUME: Bonnafon was rated a four-star prospect and the 22nd-best quarterback in the nation by Scout.com. He threw for 2,606 yards and 16 touchdowns, completing a solid 63.1 percent of his passes, while also rushing for an additional 895 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior. An All-State selection, Bonnafon committed to Louisville over Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, Western Kentucky and others.

IMPACT: Played in 10 games, starting five, as a true freshman. Threw for 864 yards and five touchdowns to help guide the Cardinals to the Belk Bowl.

OTHERS: OL Lukayus McNeil, RB L.J. Scott, TE Charles Standberry

2013

James Quick
Wide Receiver
Louisville Trinity

RESUME: A Scout.com five-star prospect who became the highest-rated prospect in U of L history. Rated as the nation's No.3 wide receiver by Scout.com and the No.21 overall prospect. A U.S Army All-American selection following a senior campaign that saw him total 85 catches for 1,413 yards and 16 touchdowns. Selected as Kentucky's Mr. Football after setting the state's all-time leading receiver with 280 receptions. Selected Louisville over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon and a host of others.

IMPACT: Has 42 career receptions for 639 yards and three touchdowns. Played in all 12 games, starting 10, as a sophomore. Finished second on a team with 566 yards last season, with his 15.7 yards per catch average tops on the team.

OTHERS: QB Kyle Bolin, DL Johnny Richardson, LB Keith Kelsey

2012

Keith Brown
Linebacker
Miami Norland

RESUME: Brown, a Scout.com four-star prospect was a U.S. Army All-American selection following a senior season that saw him record 113 tackles, five sacks and returned an interception for touchdown. He was voted to the 5A first team All-State squad and was selected first team All-Dade County. He helped guide Norland to a perfect 15-0 record and Class 5A Florida State championship. He committed to Louisville over scholarship offers from Clemson, Florida State, Illinois, Miami and others.

IMPACT: Named a freshman All-American by FoxSports.net following a rookie year that saw him appear in 11 games, making five starts. Has been slowed by injury the past two seasons, appearing in 16 games. Totaled 20 tackles in 2014.

OTHERS: LB Nick Dawson, LB James Burgess, RB Brandon Radcliff

2011

Teddy Bridgewater
Quarterback
Miami Northwestern

RESUME: Rated as the nation's No.6 quarterback by Scout.com, Bridgewater was a member of the Scout.com Top 100 and a four-star prospect. Threw for 2,606 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior. He was a FACA All District Team/2nd Team All State 6-A choice and was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He became a Cardinal over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Miami, West Virginia and many others.

IMPACT: Bridgewater's impact on the Louisville program is really immeasurable. He was named Big East Rookie of the Year after throwing for 2,129 yards and 14 scores to lead the program the Belk Bowl. He started 12 games as a sophomore and was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American after throwing for 3,718 yards (third all-time) and 27 touchdowns (tied for fourth). Named MVP of the Sugar Bowl after going 20-of-32 for 266 yards and two touchdowns in a win over third-ranked Florida. He capped his U of L career off by throwing for 3,970 yards with 31 touchdowns and just four interceptions to lead the program to the Russell Athletic Bowl, where he was named MVP in a blow-out win over Miami.

OTHERS: S Gerod Holliman, WR DeVante Parker, S Calvin Pryor

2010


Michaelee Harris

Michaelee Harris
Wide Receiver
Miami Northwestern

RESUME: A key figure in Charlie Strong's first full class at U of L. A four-star prospect, Harris was a member of the Scout.com 300 and listed among the nation's wide receiver targets. Rated No. 99 in the Sentinel's Florida Top 100. He committed to Louisville over scholarship offers from Miami, Ole Miss, Tennessee, West Virginia, among others.

IMPACT: Slowed throughout his Cardinal career, Harris appeared in 34 games, starting 18. Had a spectacular rookie year when he was tied for third all-time in receptions and ranked fifth in receiving yards among freshmen wide receivers in school history.

OTHERS: LB Preston Brown, DL Marcus Smith, DL B.J. Butler

2009

Andrell Smith
Wide Receiver
Miami Palmetto

RESUME: Rated among the nation's top 15 wide receivers by Scout.com. Despite missing part of his senior season due to injury, Smith earned second team All-Dade County honors. He chose Louisville over Central Florida and others.

IMPACT: Appeared in 45 games at Louisville, totaling 70 catches for 1,120 yards and 7 touchdowns.

OTHERS: WR Damian Copeland, DT Roy Philon, S Hakeem Smith

2008

Dexter Heyman
Linebacker
Louisville Male

RESUME: Rated as the nation's No.35 defensive end prospect, and No.2 in Kentucky, Heyman was a All-State selection following a stellar senior year. He was a three-star recruit and was selected to the All-Southern Football Team. He committed to Louisville over Kentucky, Cincinnati, Clemson, Indiana, Northwestern and others.

IMPACT: Appeared in 43 games, registering 156 total tackles, including 23 tackles for a loss and six sacks. His 16 tackles for a loss during his senior season ranks as the ninth-best single season effort in school history.

OTHERS: C Mario Benavides, DE Greg Scruggs

2007


Doug Beaumont

Doug Beaumont
Wide Receiver
Louisville Male

RESUME: Rated as Scout.com's No. 1 player in the state of Kentucky and the 23rd-best wide receiver in the nation. A four-star prospect, Beaumont was named Kentucky's Mr. Football and won the state's Gatorade Player of the Year award after rushing 137 times for 1,169 yards and 24 touchdowns, while catching 39 passes for 500 yards and eight touchdowns. Pledged to Louisville over Kentucky, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee and others.

IMPACT:

Appeared in 47 games, starting 35, hauling in 141 receptions. He also starred on special teams and his 74 yard punt return for a touchdown against UConn in 2010 is the fifth longest in school history. His career 11.9 yards per punt return ranks fourth in school history.

OTHERS: RB Victor Anderson, RB Bilal Powell, WR Josh Chichester

2006

Peanut Whitehead
Defensive End
Birmingham West End

RESUME: Whitehead was ranked No. 17 on the Mobile Register's Super Southeast 120 and a five-star prospect by Scout.com. Scout.com also rated Whitehead as the nation's No.3 defensive end and he was a member of the Top 50 list. He earned first-team All-State accolades after a dominating senior campaign and recorded 125 tackles and 25 sacks during his career. He chose U of L over Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee.

IMPACT: Whitehead had an immediate impact at U of L. He was named a Freshman All-America Team and All-Big East Freshman Team after making 10 starts as a true freshman. Unfortunately, his career ended prematurely due to a neck injury.

OTHERS: RB Anthony Allen, S Brandon Heath, DL L.T. Walker

2005

Earl Heyman
Defensive End
Louisville Ballard

RESUME: Third consecutive local prospect to be the highest-rated in the Cardinals recruiting class. Heyman was a U.S. Army All-American choice and a Scout.com four-star prospect. He was a member of the Scout.com Top 100 and was listed as the nation's eighth best defensive end prospect. He recorded 16 sacks as a senior. He chose to become a Cardinal over offers from Boston College, Clemson, Indiana, Kentucky, Purdue, Michigan State and a host of others.

IMPACT: Heyman totaled 112 tackles, 8.5 sacks, one interception, seven pass deflections and two forced fumbles during his U of L career. He led the team in sacks for two straight seasons.

OTHERS: S Lamar Alston, OL Brian Roche, DL L.D. Scott

2004

Brian Brohm
Quarterback
Louisville Trinity

RESUME: Brohm led Trinity to three state championships, while throwing for 10,579 yards and 119 touchdowns during his prep career. His accuracy set a new state record for career completion percentage. He was All-State selection throughout his time with the Shamrocks, he was chosen as the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year, Gatorade Player of the Year and Kentucky's Mr. Football. Rated among the Scout.com Top 100, Brohm's whittled his lengthy list of scholarship offers to five late in the recruiting process. After making official visits with Illinois, Kentucky, Notre Dame and Tennessee, Brohm committed to Louisville shortly after his visit with the Cardinals program.

IMPACT: Another commitment that is difficult to fully measure the impact. Brohm appeared in 44 games, starting 33, during his career, throwing for 10,775 yards and 53 touchdowns. He earned MVP honors in leading Louisville to a victory over Wake Forest in the 2007 Orange Bowl. His 4,024 yards as a senior ranks as the second highest single season performance in school history. His career yardage also ranks second in program history.

OTHERS: TE Gary Barnidge, CB Bobby Buchanan, WR Mario Urrutia

2003

Michael Bush
Running Back
Louisville Male

RESUME: Kentucky's Mr. Football and Parade All-American. During his run at Male, Bush earned All-State honors for his play at multiple positions and completed his career with the Bulldogs with 180 catches for 3,031 yards and 37 touchdowns, an additional 1,581 yards and 25 scores on the ground, while also completing 221 of 385 passes for 3,379 yards and 40 touchdowns. Committed to Louisville over Kentucky, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and many others.

IMPACT: Like Bridgewater and Brohm, Bush's impact on the Cardinal program is significant. Playing three years before going pro, Bush rushed for 2,508 yards and 39 touchdowns in his career. He helped lead Louisville to a win over top ten ranked Boise State in the Liberty Bowl. His His 23 touchdowns in 2005 remains the highest single season total in U of L history.

OTHERS: CB William Gay, RB Kolby Smith, WR B.J. Vickers


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