Strong locks down Louisville

Louisville lost recruiting ground in its own backyard the past three years. But Charlie Strong has made clear that will change. In his first week, Louisville's new coach has landed commitments from four of the city's top 2011 prospects – Seneca QB DaMarcus Smith, Ballard WR DeVante Parker and Fern Creek teammates WR Jerrell Moore and DL Jamon Brown.

Charlie Strong aims to make the UofL football program the dominant recruiting force in the Louisville Metro area.

Under Bobby Petrino, Louisville established itself as the main player in the city by landing local stars Michael Bush, Brian Brohm, Earl Heyman and Mario Urrutia. But Kentucky, and other out of state programs, made inroads into Louisville during Steve Kragthorpe's three years.

With Kragthorpe in charge, Louisville lost out on several top local standouts, including Deuce Finch (Boston College), Brandon Newman (Notre Dame), Ridge Wilson (Kentucky), Justin Green (Illinois), and Sam Robey (Florida).

But the tide - and recruiting momentum - is shifting back to Louisville's side.

Since coming to Louisville from Florida last week, Strong has declared that the Cardinals once again will rule Jefferson County.

Strong's first order of business was securing the verbal commitment of 2010 Central wide receiver Stephan Robinson. He did that. On his first official day on the job, Louisville's new head coach landed a commitment from four-star 2011 quarterback DaMarcus Smith from Seneca. Wednesday, Strong reeled in three more local 2011 standouts – Ballard wide receiver DeVante Parker, Fern Creek wide receiver Jerrell Moore and Fern Creek DL Jamon Brown.

Parker, a 6'3, 195-pound wide receiver with 4.5 forty speed, led the state in receiving yards with more than 1,400 and 12 touchdowns as a junior.

"I have always liked Louisville ever since I was young and decided to call Coach Strong and tell him that's where I wanted to go," Parker told Jason Higdon of "He asked me if I was sure and I said yes and he was real excited."

Strong met with the Fern Creek duo Wednesday and scored commitments from both prospects.

"He told us his plan for Louisville and what he liked about us," Brown told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "He told us he didn't need to go out of state as much when he could keep the top players home. I really liked him a lot."

Moore, a 5'11, 180-pound athlete blessed with 4.4 speed, burst onto the scene as a junior with more than 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. Moore rushed for 829 yards and 11 touchdowns and had 879 receiving yards and 10 scores. Moore had an offer from Eastern Michigan and was being recruited heavily by Kentucky.

"His speed is his strength," Fern Creek coach Curtis Higgins told recently. "He's got tremendous speed. We've clocked him in the low 4.4 range. That's his number one asset. He's a pretty good hitter and he's not afraid to run over you. He's more of a slash-type kid. We split him out wide and play him at receiver and play him at tailback."

Brown, a talented 6'4, 290-pound lineman, could play on either side of the ball at Louisville. He picked Louisville over Kentucky and Purdue.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories