Sunday Visitors Impressed by Team, Crowd

Reaction and comments from some of the many high school prospects, including James McKinney, Earl Heyman, JuJuan Spillman and Patrick Kuntz, that were on hand for U of L's 28-0 drubbing of UK on Sunday.

While the 42,000 plus that were in the stands, as well as the thousands more watching at home, were focused on the the Cardinals action the field, there was another important battle going in the stands.

On Sunday, the University of Louisville football program welcomed dozens of high school football prospects for unofficial visits. It is arguably the largest unofficial visit weekend in the programs history, as many highly-rated prospects, such as James McKinney, Earl Heyman, Patrick Kuntz, Brandon Deaderick and Maurice Grinter watched on as the Cardinals defeated the visiting Kentucky Wildcats.

From the start of the CARDMarch to the postgame festivities, the many visiting prospects had an opportunity to see the Cardinal football program up close.

"I enjoyed watching the team because it gave me an idea of who I would be playing with if I decide to go there," said Patrick Kuntz, a 3-star defensive line prospect from Roncalli High School in Indianapolis.

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  • Paducah Tilghman defensive back Lamar Alston shared a similiar thought. "I was watching the defensive backs. They looked pretty good. I felt like I could have played with them."

    For some of the local prospects, it meant constantly hearing chants of your name while sitting in your seats inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

    "It was fun," said Earl Heyman of Ballard High School. "I was sitting by James McKinney and we kept hearing people chant our names and tell us how they wanted us to come [to U of L]."

    James McKinney of Louisville Central agreed.

    "It was a little surprising to hear that," McKinney explained on Monday afternoon. "There was a lot of love up there."

    While just having a high number of top prospects visiting for a game is an impressive achievement, the success of the coaching staff's efforts starting paying rewards an hour before kickoff when Blake Boyd of Madisonville-North Hopkins visited with Coach Bobby Petrino and committed to play at U of L.

    "About an hour before the game Coach Petrino was coming around and so I told him that I wanted to commit," Boyd told on Sunday. "He seemed really excited about it. That's where my heart was and I felt that it is where I wanted to be."

    The performance of the Cardinals and the soldout stadium then starting selling the program to the others.

    "They looked real good," wide receiver prospect Steven Black of Vestavia Hills (AL) High School said of the Cardinals play. "The crowd was great. It was loud all day. They really support the team. It was exciting to sit up in the stands with the fans."

    Kuntz and PRP's JuJuan Spillman echoed Black's comments.

    "The energy in the stadium was amazing," said Kuntz.

    "I was very impressed with the crowd and the atmosphere," said Spillman. "And the fans were very welcoming and nice."

    While one can't expect a high amount of commitments to come from such a weekend, it does strengthen the relationships between the coaches and the prospects, improving the odds that the player will make an official visit later in the year.

    So, not only did U of L win on the field, but it also appears that it was victorious off the field as well, helped greatly by the strong support of Cardinal fans.

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