Position series: Cornerbacks

Cardinal Authority is running a position series as a preseason football feature to help you get familiar with the entire University of Louisville roster. Our second installment provides a look at the Cardinals cornerbacks.

OVERVIEW

University of Louisville cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley doesn't have an easy job this fall, replacing Charles Gaines, Andrew Johnson and Terell Floyd in the secondary for the Cardinals.

"We don't have the luxury like we did last year, to go into the season with some guys who had played and who we knew we could put in there and say, 'You have done this before," Buckley said. "We have young guys we have to play."

But Buckley also said his young guys have talent.

"I love it," Buckley said. "Sometimes you want to have that veteran group where you put in there and let them go and sometimes you just want to have a bunch of guys to put out there and see what they do. We open with Auburn and they have some great receivers. We have some talented guys we'll put out there and say, 'Let's go'."

The leader of that group is Shaq Wiggins, who sat out last season after transferring from Georgia. He started eight games and led the Bulldogs with two interceptions two years ago.

Wiggins is a big-time playmaker and is expected to be a mainstay in the secondary for the Cardinals.

After Wiggins it's a lot of young and inexperienced guys.

Sophomores Trumaine Washington and Duke Culver and Cornelius Sturghill are ready for bigger roles, while freshman Jaire Alexander has been one of the most impressive newcomers.

"We have the pieces," Buckley said. "And that's the key. We are trying everything we can and my hat off to coach (Todd) Grantham for letting us try anything we want to try back there.

"If it's fundamentally sound and makes sense, then we're going to try it."

BREAKTHROUGH PLAYER

Trumaine Washington, Sophomore

The Miami native became a key reserve late last season when he played in eight games even with some injury issues. Washington is a player who is only 5-10, 180-pound but plays a lot bigger.

The staff is very optimistic that Washington can be that Terrell Floyd-type of guy who is a consistent and above average played for the next three seasons. He'll play a key role this season.

Washington totaled 14 tackles last season and will get plenty of opportunities this time around. He could be the guy in the end of the season that fans point to as the difference-maker in the secondary.

SLEEPER

Jaire Alexander, Freshman

We'll keep him in the sleeper category despite the coaches raving over his ability and his progress through the early part of camp. He's a true freshman who will see the field from the first game on.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound native of Charlotte, N.C., was a two-way player in high school and came to U of L in January. He was able to participate in spring ball and is so far along in picking up the defense.

Alexander has the ball skills and the instincts to be a lock-down corner for the Cardinals.

With the losses from last season, Alexander is in the mix for a starting spot and will for sure see time. He's also likely to be a major weapon on punt returns for the Cardinals this season.

"He's a really, really good football player," Bobby Pertrino said.

EXTRA POINTS

***Sturghill was recruited as a wide receiver and spent some time there, but is now cemented as a corner.

***Benjamin was a guy who was highly-rated out of high school. He only played in one game last season and is trying to get into the mix for some more playing time.

***Duke Culver is De'Eric Culver but is now going by Duke.

***Devontre Parnell and Cannon are other guys who could see some playing time. Parnell is one of the fastest guys on the team and the redshirt junior could be on the kickoff return team.

COMING UP

***Check out from earlier today for a video about the cornerback position and also the feature on potential CB star Shaq Wiggins. In the morning, we'll look at the freshmen sensation Jaire Alexander.

***Our third day of the position series comes tomorrow with a look at the wide receiver position.


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