Jody Demling

A look at some of the top newcomers expected to play this season for the University of Louisville football team

The University of Louisville football team opens the season at home next Thursday night against Charlotte in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Here's a look at a few newcomers that should make an impact this fall.

University of Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino has said multiple times before and during fall camp that he hopes he doesn't have to use as many newcomers, especially freshmen, this season.

The Cardinals have built enough depth where they can redshirt a few more players than they have been in recent years. The staff is excited about the newcomers they have on the roster and a few will play key roles this season.

Here's a look at five top newcomers (not including guys who were on the roster last season and didn't play):

Ronald Walker, Junior, Cornerback

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Walker was one of the top junior-college prospects in the country last season and has been at Louisville since enrolling in January. He was a little behind coming out of spring ball but has made up ground and is expected to be a key player in the secondary. While there's not a ton of depth at the corner position, Walker brings some experience and has a nasty side, which Todd Grantham likes.

Chris Williams, Junior, Defensive Line

The 6-foot-1, 295-pound Williams is a bit undersized but is strong and really packs a punch on the line. He'll play a lot of minutes and will likely be the backup for Drew Bailey on the defensive end position. Williams has been good since he arrived in January and went through spring ball with the Cardinals. He had two sacks in a recent scrimmage and the coaches have been talking him up.

Seth Dawkins, Freshman, Wide Receiver

Not many true freshmen will even play, much less make an impact on this experienced team but we're under the impression Dawkins will be one of those guys. And not just from the kick return standpoint. It sounds like Dawkins has been good enough in the final two weeks to work his way into the wide receiver rotation and is playing a lot of special teams. He'll be a contributor.

London Iakopo, Junior, Safety

Hard-hitting and versatile are the words that describe Iakopo. The staff loves his mentality and his makeup and he's going to play a lot of snaps in the secondary. Iakopo is a hard-hitter and he has a nose for the ball. He'll be a solid player in Grantham's system.

Malik Williams, Junior, Running Back

Williams is a junior so he likely won't redshirt and we think he has enough talent to make a difference once he does get some snaps. He runs hard and has great hips and the best part is he catches the ball out of the backfield. Might not be the star of the stable of backs but he will be one of the guys who get a shot to carry the load.

Other newcomers of note: We expect that Robbie Bell will be the backup center and perhaps like Eric Wood when he was a freshman - he'll travel but may not see the field this season unless they need him. Gary McCrae still has a shot to be a top newcomer with more snaps, while things are still up in the air for Jawon Pass.

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