It used to be the only coverage the die-hard U of L football recruiting fan could look forward to was the occasional appearance by Max Emfinger or Tom Lemming on Sports Talk with Van Vance or the like.
And sometimes a local kid, say a Jeff Brohm or a Leyland Taylor, would generate and peek the interest of the fans enough so that the local televsion stations and newspaper would provide coverage.
But for the most part, knowledge about and information on U of L's football prospects went unknown until Schnellenberger and staff unveiled the fruits of their recruiting harvest in the cozy little recruiting lounge at the old Fairgrounds football complex.
Back in those days, signing day was an exciting event that was eagerly anticipated for the small group of diehards who bothered to show up for the official announcement. Back then, the thrill of the unknown and the dream of future greatness was exhilerating for U of L football recruiting junkies.
Questions like: Who will we sign? How good are they? And who did we beat out for their services, for the most part, went unknown until national signing day when the coaching staff unveiled those answers.
Boy has that all changed now!
Not only has fan interest dramatically increased in recent years in national signing day but the coverage and information now available to the growing legion of U of L football fans is better and more readily available than ever.
There's no question that the rise of the Internet is a major reason for this new found thrist for U of L football recruiting information. The Internet has forever changed how recruiting information is diseminated. Fans know now who their schools recruiting targets are, when those players will visit, and if done properly, will learn of a players verbal commitment almost as soon as the player makes one.
But the biggest and most important reason why U of L football recruiting is now a big deal is because of the success during the past fifteen years on the field and the commitment to excellence the university administration places on the sport.
Not a traditional football power, Louisville has now appeared in six straight bowl games, produced winning seasons in 12 of the past 16 years, knocked off in-state rival Kentucky four of the past five times, and play regularly on national television. Surely all those factors, combined with beautiful Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and some of the best facilities around, have led to U of L's success on the recruiting trail in recent years. And this year is no exception.
Headlined by local legend Brian Brohm, this recruiting class appears one of the best in recent history. It's a class built on speed and loaded with talented defenders who like to hit and make big plays.
For most today, the major question isn't who Louisville will sign. If you don't know already and you're reading this article, simply go look at the list of verbal commitments on the front page of this website for the answer. Sure there will be some surpises, they're always is. By and large, however, the suspense simply isn't there.
Instead, today really should be about the celebration of the sport of football and it's growing popularity and importance in this community and to the fans of the University of Louisville. What greater testament to this newly found love of football than to see a repeat of last year's crowd, or even better, more fans, turn out to meet with Bobby Petrino this afternoon at 4:00 in the Brown and Williamson club to celebrate his staff's job well done.
There's a lot of great things happening around U of L football these days. Head coach Bobby Petrino is one of the bright young talents in college football and with the signing today of Brohm, he now has the proto-type quarterback to lead his explosive offense and Cardinal football to new found heights.
So for a program that's considered one of the fastest rising in the country, today is not only a celebration of past accomplishment, and there's been plenty during the past several seasons to be sure. More importantly, though, it's a time to welcome a new class of talented signees that will lead the Cardinal football program into its new conference with great hope of future glory on the gridiron.
While it may seem like only yesterday that the die-hards met at the old complex to get their yearly football recruiting fix, one thing is certain today: We've sure come a long way since then!
Congratulations to Coach Petrino and staff for an excellent job once again on the recruiting trails and welcome to Cardinal football the Class of 2004!