Cards recruiting class No. 1 in Big East

With twenty-five verbal commitments, the University of Louisville currently has the Big East Conference's top ranked football recruiting class. Can the Cardinals hold on to the top spot? Will Pittsburgh or West Virginia be able to catch up with Louisville?

Primarily on the strength of his four most recent football committments, University of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino's recruiting class is quickly moving up the national charts.

Having just secured verbal commitments from two four-star prospects - 6-3, 240-pound defensive end Earl Heyman and 6-4, 266-pound defensive end Zach Anderson - and two other talented prospects - 6-3, 235-pound H-back Careg Bonner and 6-2, 180-pound corner Travis Norton - this week, Louisville has moved up several spots in Scout.com's team recruiting ranking to No. 37; currently the best recruiting haul in the Big East Conference.

Checking in just behind Louisville are Pittsburgh (No. 40) and West Virginia (No. 41). The Panthers currently have 17 verbal committments, while the Mountaineers check in with 18. And though the Cardinals recruiting class currently has several more players, Petrino's group doesn't find itself on top because of sheer quantity. Quite the contrary.

Not only does Louisville have committments from the most four-star prospects (4)(Pittsburgh has one four-star recruit; West Virginia none), they're also tied with West Virginia with the most three-star prospects (6)(Pittsburgh has four three-star recruits). And with a 2.52 average player rating, the Cardinals also top the league recruiting standings.

The Panthers recruiting class is headlined by four-star defensive tackle Craig Bokor, ranked No. 32 nationally at his position, and three-star running backs Shane Brooks and LaRod Stephens.

The Mountaineers, who finished a disappointing season with a loss to Florida State in the Gator Bowl, needed to load up on offensive skills positions after losing QB Rasheed Marshall, WR Chris Henry and RB Kay Jay Harris. And it appears that Rick Rodriguez has done just that.

Led by three-star quarterbacks Jarrett Brown and Nathan Sowers, three-star receiver Ryan Dawson and three-star running backs Steve Slaton and Ed Collington, West Virginia has landed an impressive array of talented offensive prospects.

But can either Pittsburgh or West Virginia, in the last couple of weeks before national signing day, catch Petrino and Louisville for top honors in the Big East?

It's going to be tough. Louisville, even with 25 players already committed, hasn't quite put the finishing touches on their recruiting class. And if Petrino and company are able to land four-star recruits Brian Roche, a 6-5, 270-pound offensive lineman, and Brandon Deaderick, a 6-4, 230-pound defensive end, the Cardinals would likely put more distance between themselves and their two closest challengers.

CURRENT BIG EAST RECRUITING RANKINGS

No. 1 Louisville (No. 37)
No. 2 Pittsburgh (No. 40)
No. 3 West Virginia (No. 41)
No. 4 Connecticut(No. 58)
No. 5 Syracuse (No. 59)
No. 6 Rutgers (No. 64)
No. 7 Cincinnati (No. 66)
No. 8 South Florida (No. 78)

Numbers in parenthese represent Scout.com's national class ranking - as of January 19.


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