The University of Louisville football team had around a dozen new faces participating in spring practice and many are players who will see a lot of time this fall.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was true freshman Jaire Alexander.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound cornerback from Charlotte, N.C., Rocky River High School graduated in December and enrolled so he could get a jump start on his college career. And it worked out well.
"He's been really impressive for a young guy," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said just before the spring game. "We're still trying to work with all the young guys to understand their craft, but I've been pleased with (Alexander)."
A former South Carolina commitment, Alexander could see time in the rotation this season for the Cardinals because of the lack of depth in the secondary. Cornerbacks Terell Floyd and Charles Gaines are both gone and Alexander will be in line to play key snaps, along with Shaq Wiggins, Trumaine Washington and Cornelius Sturghill.
"He's still young but he's going to be an outstanding football player for us," U of L head coach Bobby Petrino said. "It was good for Jaire and Traveon Samuel to get here early and get adjusted. He'll play for us."
Alexander, who ranked as the fifth-best player in North Carolina, committed to South Carolina in June, but an official visit with Louisville just before the mid-year guys who enrolled signed convinced him to flip the Cardinals.
Alexander ranked as the No. 89 corner in the country and No. 36 among corners in the South by Scout.com.
As a senior, Alexander had over 70 catches for more than 1,300 yards and 25 total touchdowns. He also had 35 tackles, four interceptions and returned a punt, two kickoffs and an interception for a TD.
Rocky River coach Jason Fowler said Louisville landed a "steal."
"They're getting a dynamic player, the type of kid that you really can't put a label on," Fowler said. "He's a football player. He was defensive player of the year in our conference for two years and had over 1,400 yards receiving.
"I've never seen a kid in my 15 years that could do as much as he could. He has so much upside."