Recruiting stretch run will be difficult

With less than a month left until the February 7 National Signing Day, the next University of Louisville head coach will have a very hectic schedule during the upcoming weeks. has the latest on Matt Simms, Dale Martin and more...

The race to the finish line for this year's recruiting class became a much tougher stretch the moment that Bobby Petrino accepted the head coaching position with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. With just less than a month left until the February 7 National Signing Day, the next U of L head coach will have a very hectic schedule for the upcoming weeks.

Searching for a new home, researching the area schools and finding the local grocery will have to wait for a bit, as clearly the first order of business for the new coach and his staff will be contacting the current list of verbal commitments and reassuring them in their previous decision to become a Cardinal.

While some, such as four-star prospect Doug Beaumont of Louisville Male will remain firm in their commitment to the University of Louisville, most, like the Cardinals latest verbal pledge, running back Dale Martin, will re-think their prior choices.

Martin committed to Louisville
on Saturday morning.
"I just saw it on ESPN," Martin, a four-star prospect, told on Sunday evening. "It kind of surprised me, but a coach can be hired or fired any day, so you have expect that changes will happen."

Martin, who verbally committed to Louisville on Saturday morning, said that he will be placing a call to the Howard L. Schnellenberger Football Complex on Monday.

"I'm going to call the coach that is recruiting me, Coach Johnson, and talk to him about what's going on," Martin said. "I want to find out who they are bringing in and things like that before I make any decision on what to do."

Martin had dozens of scholarships offers, but narrowed his list to Iowa, Louisville and Tennessee heading into last weekend.

"That can happen at any school, they can go to the NFL at any time," Martin told "I'll try and move on, either I'll like the situation at Louisville or move on and find someone else."

While Petrino's high-octane offense was part of what attracted the nation's No.25 back to Louisville, Martin explained that it was the complete package of what the Cardinal program had to offer that helped him make his decision to commit.

"It was a lot of different stuff really," he said. "I like that they have the #2 offense in the country, plus the facilities there are all like new. I like the players there, like my host Brandon Heath, we all got along."

Cardinal quarterback commit Matt Simms' choice to become a Cardinal may remain firm if Tulsa's Steve Kragthorpe is chosen as the school's next head coach.

While we were unable to reach Simms on Sunday, sources close to the situation reaffirmed that the U.S. Army All-American quarterback would most likely sign with Louisville should Kragthorpe take the reigns of the program. During his visit to U of L for junior day, Simms, along with his father Phil, were informed that Kragthorpe, who tutored Rob Johnson and Drew Bledsoe while serving as quarterback coach for the Buffalo Bills, would be offered the position should Petrino leave, a move that seemed to be okay with both father and son.

After working the phones and introducing himself to the current list of verbal commitments, the new head coach will have to quickly turn his attention to the many prospects that currently hold scholarship offers from Louisville and remain uncommitted. As is the case in all coaching changes, Petrino's timing will likely cost the Cardinals a commitment or two that they were in position to receive.

"I really do not know what to say," three-star junior college target Allen Bell. "I just talked to him (Saturday) night. Man, this changes everything a lot. That makes it real different."

Bell, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback, had U of L as his favorite before learning of the news.

Ryan Houston is scheduled for
an official visit this weekend
"I think they might have been (in the lead)," Bell told‘s Yancy Porter on Sunday. "Going home from my (official) visit, I talked to some people from my old high school who were thinking about going there. We have a lot of people from Tallahassee (FL) who go there. I have heard a lot of positives about them (Louisville), but now I just do not know."

"This puts Ole Miss out in front, for sure," Bell continued. "But I am still looking at Iowa State and Nebraska too."

U of L was set to host a number of talented prospects, including four-star Ryan Houston and three-star Rudell Crim, on official visits this weekend. will continue to track the developing situation and will have reaction from prospects throughout the week.

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