By Jody Demling - Cardinal Authority

Spring football begins today for the University of Louisville football program; here are five newcomers to watch on the field

Spring football begins today for the University of Louisville football program; here are five newcomers to watch on the field.

It's time for spring football at the University of Louisville.

The first of 15 spring practices will begin on Tuesday afternoon with March 24, 28 and April 4 the days open to the public.

U of L has plenty of new names that will be trying for spots in key roles next season and that will start this spring. The Cardinals only played three members of the Class of 2016 recruiting class and redshirted the rest of the players.

"From everything we did on our Sunday night practice to our bowl preparation for those guys, we put them into a position to compete for playing time," U of L coach Bobby Petrino said of the redshirt freshmen. "And that starts with spring football."

Here are five newcomers to watch, including a true freshman and several redshirt freshmen:

1. Dae Williams, running back: The powerful redshirt freshman running back was a player we heard a lot about last season when the staff would have those Sunday night practices for the redshirt guys. Williams runs straight down hill and delivers an impact when he gets there. He averaged 6.3 yards a carry as a senior at Sapulpa, Okla., and should get plenty of reps this spring.

2. Jawon Pass, quarterback: Well, he won't be the starter this season but Petrino said he will get plenty of reps this spring to see where he's at and to get him ready in case the Cardinals do need him. Petrino said this is "the most important time" for Pass. He'll be fun to watch.

3. C.J. Avery, safety: The true freshman picked the Cardinals in the late stages of his recruitment and was a top 200 prospect in the country coming out of high school. He's a guy who is expected to be in the secondary rotation as a true freshman.

4. Caleb Tillman, defensive lineman: The redshirt freshman was the first player Petrino brought up when talking about guys who have made a jump since the end of last season. Tillman is 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds and is very versatile. He's a guy that will make an impact on the front line of the defense starting this spring.

5. Dez Fitzpatrick, wide receiver: The redshirt freshmen group of wide receivers is talented and exciting and Fitzpatrick is the elite guy from the group. He could end up being the leading receiver next season.

A bonus: Cole Bentley, offensive lineman: The true freshman from Belfry High School is expected to be in the mix for one of the starting guard spots. He's been a big hit with the staff since he arrived on campus.

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