Cards recruiting class climbs in rankings

Louisville's recent slew of commitments has the Cardinals recruiting class rapidly ascending the Scout.com national recruiting class rankings. After receiving eight verbal commitments in the past few days, Louisville's 2006 recruiting class has vaulted nine spots into the Top 40 nationally.

After getting off to a slow start on the recruiting trail, Bobby Petrino and the Louisville football program made up for lost time recently when they received eight verbal commitments in the past five days.

Keep in mind that it took Louisville six months to land their first eight commitments from the Class of 2006. Impressively, they matched that total in just a matter of days this week. With their most recent additions, the Cardinals class is vaulting up the recruiting rankings.

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  • Just this week, Louisville's recruiting class has jumped nine spots, from No. 48 to No. 39, on the Scout.com team recruiting rankings. The Cardinals now have more commitments than any other Big East program, except Pittsburgh (21), and find themselves securely in second place behind the Panthers in the league rankings (Pittsburgh's class ranks fifth-best nationally by Scout.com).

    How have Petrino and Co. done it?

    Simple, they capitalized on a big recruiting weekend Dec. 16, when they hosted a large group of official visitors. The Cardinals turned several of those visits into commitments – the ultimate sign the Louisville coaches are getting it done when they get prospects on campus.

    Already this week, the Cardinals have reeled in one four star prospect – WR Latarrius Thomas – and two three star prospects – JUCO DT Willie Williams and WR Johnny Patrick. Louisville also beat South Carolina for Conrad Thomas, a talented 6-5, 330-pound offensive lineman, and landed four other prospects – OL Ryan Kessling, DL Frank Grimes, DL Jeremy Baker, and TE Pete Nochta. The only player in the group that didn't visit U of L last weekend – Thomas – made his official visit the week before.


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    Most importantly, the Louisville staff has gone a long way in recent days to shoring up vital ‘need' areas. Needing quality prospects on both lines, Louisville now has commitments from four offensive linemen and three defensive linemen. The Cardinals have also restocked most the offensive skill positions will excellent talent, and have some intriguing linebacker/athlete prospects like 6-3, 220-pound James Poe and 6-0, 205-pound Eugene Sowell.

    And while Louisville hasn't fared well in-state this year, the Cardinals have racked up in the south, particularly in talent-laden Florida. Exactly half of Louisville's 16 current commitments hail from the Sun Shine state. Four others hail from the football-crazed states of Alabama (Sowell, Josh Hawkins) and Georgia (Conrad Thomas, Williams). I'd call that a proven formula for success.

    Where do the Cardinals go from here?

    After missing on their top quarterback prospects, most recently with Justin Roper, Louisville still needs to find a quarterback to round out this class. They probably also need to land a few more talented defensive prospects like Deantwan Whitehead, Terrance Campbell, L.T. Walker, and Aundre Henderson. If they can get a few of those big-name talents, the Cardinals will be in good shape come national signing day.

    With the recent rash of commitments, it's probably safe to assume the recruiting furry will die down for about a week or so before picking back up Jan. 6 when the Cardinals plan to host another group of talented prospects, headlined by Darian Stewart, Ryan McNeil and Victor Thomas, a trio of three-star defensive prospects.

    In the meantime, Petrino will have his team hard at work as they prepare for their Jan. 2 against Virginia Tech in the Toyota Gator Bowl.

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