Speed the operative word for U of L signees

<b>SIGNING DAY 2005</b> Heading into the recruiting process, Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino said his team needed to find help along both the offensive and defensive lines and in the secondary. And, perhaps most importantly, he wanted to enhance his teams overall speed. On Wednesday, Petrino thinks his staff has accomplished their mission.

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino was very pleased with his 24 man recruiting class Wednesday afternoon, particularly because he and his staff met their teams most vital needs.

Heading into the recruiting process this year, Petrino said his team needed to find help along both the offensive and defensive lines and in the secondary. And, perhaps most importantly, he wanted to enhance his teams overall speed.

"Our goal is to the fastest team in the Big East Conference," said Petrino. "When we started this out a year ago, we were looking for a strong offensive and defensive line [class of recruits] and we needed to replenish our secondary. And we wanted to recruit speed. I think it's important as we make this transition into the Big East that we are the fastest team in the conference."

In total, the Cardinals signed eight linemen - four on each side of the ball. In the trenches, Petrino signed several highly regarded prospects, including Ballard's Earl Heyman, Scout.com's No. 8 defensive line prospect in the nation. Petrino also signed three highly regarded junior college linemen - offensive linemen Marcus Gordon, a 6-6, 335-pound tackle who is already on campus and 6-7, 320 Marcel Benson from San Diego Mesa C.C, and East Mississippi Community College's Zach Anderson, who Petrino said would compete for a starting spot at defensive end.

"Marcel is as good a player as I think we can get as an offensive tackle," Petrino said. "And in my opinion, Earl Heyman is the best defensive lineman in the state of Kentucky."

In the secondary, the Cardinals signed six, possibly seven prospects, each that possess the size and speed Petrino's staff like to have. "Coach Whitt and Coach Cassity were admament about finding corners that were fast and had long arms," said Petrino.

Headlining a strong secondary group are Lamar Alston from Paducah Tilghman, and Tallahassee, Florida standouts E.K. Sawyer and Travis Norton - all in the 6-0, 180-pound range.

"Lamar is one of the best players in the state of Kentucky that we identified early in the recruiting process," said Petrino. "Travis and E.K. are real fast and that's what we were looking for. And Travis could play right away."

Petrino also wanted to improve his speed at receiver. With 5-11 JuJuan Spillman, 5-9 Trent Guy, 5-10 Craig James and a pair of 6-3 standouts in Steven Black and Scott Long - each who run the forty in the 4.3-4.5 range - the U of L coaches found what they were looking for.

"We wanted to improve our true speed at the wide receiver spot," Petrino said. "We wanted to get some receivers that could really fly. I like the receivers we have on our team - they all run good routes and catch the ball - but we don't have that one guy that can really fly. So it was important to find some like that."

"Trenton Guy is real fast and we're excited about his speed and how he runs with the ball," Petrino said. "Craig James is very fast and we compare him a little bit to Arnold Jackson. And Scott Long is tall, very fast and physical - he's what we were looking for."

Though the class has good balance - the Cardinals also signed one running back, quarterback, linebacker and tight end - the important aspect for Petrino was to meet his program's needs. And that's exactly what Petrino, who is 20-5 in two-years at Louisville, believes his staff was able to do.

"I think the strength of our class is that we met our needs," Petrino said. "I thought our coaches did an outstanding job in filling our holes in the defensive backfield, and defensive and offensive lines. We also wanted to continue to improve our team speed and athleticism, and I feel we accomplished that."


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