Kragthorpe says recruiting class 'underrated'

Louisville's 23-man, 2009 recruiting class is rated No. 64 nationally and sixth-best in the Big East by Scout.com. On Wednesday, Steve Kragthorpe said he believes many of his new recruits are "highly underrated."

Steve Kragthorpe introduced his third recruiting class at Louisville on Wednesday afternoon.

The Cardinals signed 23 prospects in all, including six junior college transfers. Three of those junior college signees – QB Adam Froman, DT Joseph Townsend and DE Malcolm Tatum are already enrolled at UofL. Freshman WR Andrell Smith is also in school at Louisville. All four will be able to go during spring practice.

"It's really good to have the two defensive lineman – Malcolm and (Townsend) – to be on campus because that's area we lost some really good players," Kragthorpe said. "We lost three starters on the defensive line so it's big to get those guys on campus."

Louisville's class is ranked No. 64 in the nation and sixth-best in the Big East by Scout.com.

"I feel very good about (the class)," Kragthorpe said. "I think a lot of these guys are highly, highly underrated. From top to bottom, I think this class is what we needed in terms of addressing some immediate needs and also addressed our needs in terms of some young players who can come in here and hopefully have a pretty quick impact for us and provide some depth."

Froman might be the most important recruit on the list for Louisville and will be a key figure in the race this spring to replace Hunter Cantwell as the Cardinals starting quarterback next season. A first team All-American, Froman threw for 3,876 yards and 40 touchdowns last season. Froman is on campus and working out with the team.


JUCO Joe Townsend might help
Louisville on the defensive
line next season.

"Nobody has an edge right now, it's wide-open," Kragthorpe said. "He is in the running for the starting job but he has been promised nothing. The best guy is going to play."

Louisville's class weighed heavily toward the defensive side of the ball. Of the Cardinals 23 signees, 15 are defensive prospects. Kragthorpe said several of his new recruits could see immediate action for a unit that surrendered 63 points in the season's final game against Rutgers and will be breaking in its fourth defensive coordinator since Kragthorpe's arrival.

"We'll definitely see some of the junior college players right away – the two we have on campus now, but we're going to have to have some of those true freshman come in and play because of our depth numbers particularly in the secondary," said Kragthorpe. "We're going to have to some corners come in and play for us and some of the safeties too."

The Cardinals signed seven high school defensive backs, plus junior college cornerback Preston Pace from Butte C.C. Two of those, Isaac and Jacob Geffard, could beef up and move to linebacker quickly. Champ Lee and Shenard Holton are well-regarded safety prospects, while Titus Teague and Zed Evans bring speed to the corner position.

"We're looking for guys that are willing to hit people," said Kragthorpe. "It's hard to teach a guy to stick his face in the fan. It's easier to teach them to back pedal than hit somebody in the face."

Louisville also returned to the state of Florida to sign eight prospects – counting Pace, who is originally from the sunshine state but played junior college in California.

"That's big," Kragthorpe said. "Florida has to be a big area for us because of the quality of football played there. We've got to do a good job recruiting there."

Noticeably absent from the Cardinals signee list was anyone from the city of Louisville. That hasn't happened in several years and it's something Kragthorpe hopes to address right away with a new strategy.

"We've got to do a great job recruiting here in Louisville first because there's a lot of great players here and in the state of Kentucky," Kragthorpe said. "We've got to do a great job servicing those schools. Instead of having one guy servicing 45 schools I want to have nine guys service five schools. All nine of our coaches will have a specific area in town."

The Cardinals also could still add a couple more players to their recruiting class. Shortly after the season, Kragthorpe indicated finding several offensive linemen would be a top priority. However, the Cards signed only two offensive line prospects – junior college guard/tackle Joe Evinger and Tampa (FL) Wharton standout Hunter Stout.

"We could go to 25," Kragthrope said. "We've still got a couple lines out in the water right now. We would have liked to get one or two more offensive linemen. That's an area I'd like to find one more player."

Louisville had hoped to add two prospects who made their decisions on signing day, but four-star junior college DE Dequin Evans chose Kentucky over the Cardinals and three-star linebacker Ka'Lial Glaud signed with Rutgers. The Cardinals did land one prospect on National Signing Day – Norfolk, Va. running back Boogie McCray, a teammate of fellow Louisville signee Mike Privott at Lake Taylor H.S.

"Boogie is a guy we found kind of late because we recruiting Mike," Kragthorpe. "He is a bigger back and I think we need to continue to find some of those guys. He's an athlete that catches the ball well out of the backfield."

McCray totaled 1,627 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior. Louisville also signed 5-9, 180-pound running back Jeremy Wright from Clermont, Florida. Wright was the leading rusher in Florida and rushed for 4,133 yards and 43 touchdowns in his career.

"I really like this class," Kragthorpe said. "I think we've got a lot of guys that could be very good football players for us. I'm not concerned where they're rated. I'm concerned about where they end up. I think a lot of guys could end up being very good player for us at Louisville."

NOTES
* Kragthorpe said Richard Raglin has received a medical redshirt and will return to play next season for the Cardinals.

* Kragthorpe also said he'll announce his staff changes and additions next Monday.


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