The University of Louisville defense finished among the top 10 nationally last season, helping the Cardinals to a 9-4 record. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and others on the defense believe the Cardinals could be just as good - or better - this season.
"We're going to be a handful," linebacker Devonte Fields said.
The Cardinals only have four returning starters on the defense and saw six players off the defense go int he NFL Draft but Grantham has some guys returning and will add three major transfers that will bolster the defense.
Fields, the former Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year at TCU, is expected to start at outside linebacker, while Georgia transfers - safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and cornerback Shaq Wiggins - will also be starters for the Cardinals.
"We expect those guys to come in and play," Grantham said. "Josh and Shaq have been with us for a year, so they know what we're doing and have been in the system. Devonte has come in and really adjusted."
Harvey-Clemons is a former five-star prospect from Valdosta, Ga., who had 66 tackles and a team-leading three fumble recoveries as a sophomore in 2013 at Georgia.
Wiggins is a former four-star prospect out of Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga., who started nine games as a freshman and led Georgia with two interceptions.
Fields, ranked as the No. 2 junior-college prospect in the country by Scout.com in the Class of 2015, is originally from Fort Worth, Tx., and was an Under Armour All-American coming out of Arlington Martin High School. As a freshman at TCU, Fields was selected as the AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Newcomer of the Year. He was voted by conference coaches as the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and landed on both of the first teams for All-Big 12 and AP All-Big 12 and was a consensus Freshman All-American and named the Defensive Freshman of the Year by CollegeFootballNews.com.
Fields started all 13 games and finished with 53 tackles, including 34 solo tackles, and led the team with 18.5 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks. He was limited to three games because of injury in 2013. And after some setbacks off of the field, Fields and the Horned Frogs parted ways. He wanted to attends Stephen F. Austin - an FCS school - and then enter the NFL Draft but that was blocked by TCU.