Recruits react to English's departure

Though Ron English won't be announced as Eastern Michigan's new head coach until Monday afternoon word leaked out to Louisville commits over the weekend about his departure from Louisville. How will English's departure impact the Cardinals recruiting efforts? Will all the players currently committed stick with Louisville?

One player who has been greatly impacted by the news is Mike Privott, Louisville's highest-rated commit. Privott chose Louisville, in large part, to play for the fiery English. Privott also was recruited heavily by former Louisville assistant Eric Lewis, who is leaving UofL to join English at Eastern Michigan.

"It was a big shock to me and my family," Privott said. "I was kind of disappointed that they're leaving. I'm kind of upset that my recruiting coach, Eric Lewis, is leaving also. So it affected me and my family but they promoted Bill Miller, who is my position coach, to d-coordinator and I have faith in him. So I'm going to stay with Louisville."

"I thought about de-committing when I heard but I realized I gave Coach Kragthorpe my pledge and I'm going to stick with (Louisville)," Privott added.

Lewis called Privott Sunday night to explain the situation and gauge his interest in joining English at Eastern Michigan. According to Privott, Lewis offered him a scholarship to attend EMU and tried to persuade him to make a visit to the Detroit-area school.

Sharpe was recruited by Eric Lewis
but says he's sticking with Louisville.

"I talked to Coach Lewis last night and he told me they were sorry what happened but an opportunity came along and Coach English had to jump on it," said Privott. "I can understand Coach English trying to work his way up the coaching business. And (Lewis) offered me a scholarship but I don't think it's going to happen. I told him thanks but no thanks."

English's replacement, Bill Miller, played a large role in keeping Privott in the fold. A former defensive coordinator at Miami, Arizona State and Oklahoma State, among others, Privott said he feels comfortable with the Cardinals new defensive coordinator.

"We talked for about 30 or 40 minutes and at first I told him if Coach English wasn't going to be there I didn't want to be there," Privott said. "But he told me that nothing was going to change and they were going to run the same package that they did last year and I'm still their guy on defense.

"Then he told me his background – and he coached my idol, Ray Lewis. He coached Ray Lewis in college. So I'm thinking he could do the same for me and get me to the next level. I feel real confident in him."

Now firmly in the fold after the coaching change, Privott has begun to reach out to several other key recruits and commits. He's already talked with three-star Florida DE Julius Forte about joining him at Louisville; and he spoke with Virginia safety Shamarko Thomas, who committed to Louisville on Friday.

"I've talked to Julius Forte and he said he's still looking at us and that (Louisville) is the top for him with Central Florida," Privott said. "And I talked with Shamarko Thomas and told him what happened because we live in the same area. He said he's still on board. I think everybody is going to stay along with the team."

Brandon Sharpe, a teammate of Thomas who also committed to Louisville on Friday, just learned about English's decision Monday morning. Sharpe said he hadn't spoken with the UofL coaching staff or English or his recruiting coach, Eric Lewis. Sharpe's initial reaction was to stick with his commitment with the Cardinals.

"I'm still committed," Sharpe said.

Two other commits, Florida twins Isaac and Jacob Geffard, hadn't spoken with UofL coaches about English's departure as of Monday morning. The Geffard's, however, largely chose Louisville because of their relationship with Bill Miller, UofL's new coordinator. Miller and UofL head coach Steve Kragthorpe recently traveled to Florida to visit with both players.

"We didn't really touch on (the coaching change) and I didn't even know that actually," Isaac Geffard said. "That's something I haven't touched on with them yet."

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