Cards host lots of recruits; top playmakers

It's an important ‘homecoming' weekend at Louisville. The Cardinals, who host Middle Tennessee Saturday, will also have several important recruits in town on official visits, including a trio of explosive offensive playmakers.

When you talk about speed, Louisville will host three players this weekend who have plenty to burn. Tim Smith, Marcus McNeal and Mywan Jackson all run the forty in sub-4.4 seconds. That's blazing fast speed – the kind of speed Steve Kragthorpe would love to add to his team's offense next season.

Smith, from Chesapeake (VA) Oscar Smith, is a big-time playmaker. Smith had a big game recently in a 37-0 win over previously unbeaten Grassfield when returned a kickoff 97 yards for a score and also had touchdown receptions of 51 and 48 yards. For the game, Smith caught five passes for 133 yards.

Smith, who has helped lead his team to a national Top 25 ranking in's high school poll, also had three touchdowns (one punt return, two touchdown receptions) in a 48-7 win over Branch. Smith had five receptions for 136 yards in that game.

Last week, Smith scored two touchdowns, including a 52-yard strike, in a 55-0 win over King's Fork.

"Tim is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball and there aren't a lot of guys around here like that," said Oscar Smith coach Richard Morgan. "As long as we have him on our side, we know we have a chance to score."

Smith's could make a college decision soon. He has narrowed his list to Louisville, Virginia and West Virginia. He also has expressed interest in Boston College.

Florida burner Mywan

Mywan Jackson, a high school quarterback who projects as a college wide receiver, threw for five touchdowns in a recent victory over Jefferson. He had 205 yards passing and 110 yards rushing and a touchdown. Two weeks ago, Jackson scored three touchdowns, including a 55 yard run, in a 45-6 win over Tampa Bay Tech. This week, Jackson scored one touchdown in a 35-0 win over Plant City. Jackson's team is ranked No. 9 in the poll. Jackson is averaging 10 yards per carry and has 20 touchdowns this season.

As a junior, McNeal, from Lakewood (FL) Ranch, averaged 26.3 yards per catch and ranked among the top receivers in his area. He caught 28 passes for 736 yards and six touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-0, 185-pound McNeal runs a 4.32 forty and has ties to Louisville – his sister lives in the area. The Cardinals have a great chance to sign McNeal, who lists Louisville, West Virginia, Ole Miss and Iowa State as his four finalists.

"His biggest attribute is his speed," said Lakewood Ranch coach Shawn Trent. "If he gets in the open, he's gone."

While he doesn't fit the profile for Louisville's weekend visitors, Gulfport (FL) Boca Ciega defensive end Julius Forte is an important recruit for a Cardinal defense desperate for a top-notch pass rusher. Getting after the quarterback is what Forte does best. Forte registered double-digit sacks as a junior and already has five this season. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Forte has already made official visits to NC State and Purdue. He'll visit Ole Miss next weekend. Indiana, Kentucky and South Florida remain in the mix.

Louisville will also play host to Virginia three-star linebacker Mike Privott, the Cardinals highest-ranked commit in the Class of 2009. Star junior linebacker Travis Williams, a teammate of Privott's, will also make the trip to Louisville.

SATURDAY UPDATE confirmed the attendance of DE Julius Forte, LB Mike Privott, WR Marcus McNeal, WR Tim Smith and WR Mywan Jackson.

Louisville also hosted several prospects on unofficial visits. Here's just a sampling of those prospects in attendance:

  • Travis Williams (6-3, 200): 2010 prospect is a teammate of commit Mike Privott and holds an offer from the Cardinals.

  • John Peters (6-6, 200): 2010 quarterback prospect from Lakota (OH) West is a former teammate of Josh Chichester.

  • Shenard Holton (6-1, 190): 2009 Louisville commit is considered one of the top safety prospects in the state.

  • Van Ingram (6-5, 290): 2009 offensive lineman from Elizabethtown (KY) John Hardin.

  • Andre Hearn (6-5, 230): 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive lineman is a talented 2010 prospect from Louisville Seneca.

  • Chris Richard (6-4, 190): 6-foot-4 2010 prospect is a two-sport standout from Louisville Southern.

    Seattle native's Peyton Siva and Aaron Dotson both made official visits and attended the football game Saturday afternoon. Siva has already verbally committed to the Cardinals and Dotson, from Seattle, is expected to make a decision soon.

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