Grading the recruiting class (Defense)

Steve Kragthorpe's first recruiting class at the University of Louisville included several highly-regarded standouts, like JUCO standouts Willie Williams and Woodny Turenne. What kind of marks did Louisville's defensive recruits garner? provides the grades.


Louisville needed immediate help in the secondary after losing All-Big East cornerback William Gay and two-year starting safety Brandon Sharp. Consider this a successful haul, as Steve Kragthorpe's staff found replacements for both. Junior college back Woodny Turenne, perhaps the nation's top defensive back, will be given every opportunity to step into Gay's shoes next season after intercepting eight passes and breaking up 25 last year. He's got the size (6-1, 185) and speed (4.3) to lock down one side of the field and is also a physical hitter. Louisville also struck signing day gold landing C.J. Peake, one of the top free safety's in the country. Peake has the talent to step in for Sharp immediately and the Cardinal coaches believe he has the ability to "quarterback" the defense. Chaz Thompson, another top junior college cornerback, should provide immediate depth in the secondary and could also boaster Louisville's return game. Not only did Louisville meet their needs in the secondary, they landed immediate impact players who are ready to step in and contribute. GRADE: A+

LB Willie Williams


Replacing Nate Harris and Abe Brown didn't figure to be an easy task. But Kragthorpe and Louisville hit a home run landing junior college standout Willie Williams, formerly the nation's #1 linebacker. Williams will step in immediately and could be the most talented defender ever to put on a Louisville jersey – and that's saying a lot when you consider guys like Sam Madison, Ray Buchanan and Ted Washington. Williams, who runs a 4.4 forty, figures to be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks and has the ability to be a disruptive force. The Cardinals also landed highly-rated Florida linebacker Patrick Grant, a 6-4, 220-pound ball of energy. Grant, with 4.5 speed, made 85 tackles and 15 sacks as a senior and could see immediate action as a special teams standout. The numbers aren't high and Louisville probably could have used at least one more ‘backer, but there's a ton of quality with Williams and Grant. GRADE: A


Louisville landed a deep and talented haul of defensive lineman last year, landing studs like Deantwan Whitehead, Willie Williams, L.T. Walker and Aundre Henderson. This year, the Cardinals only signed one prospect, three-star DE Zach Kiernan. Despite landing Kiernan, who made 108 tackles, including 28 for loss while leading his team to a state title, Louisville missed on all of their top defensive line targets this year's, including DE's Luther Davis, Solomon Thomas, Jamar Jackson, Claude Davis and David Anderson. If there was a weak-spot in the Cardinals 2007 recruiting class, this is it. Fortunately, Louisville has a deep and talented assortment of D'linemen already on campus, but, obviously, finding several impact defensive lineman next year will be a top priority. GRADE: D

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