First Look at New Cards

Louisville fans got their first look at Charlie Strong's first recruiting class during Thursday's opening practice. Despite the absence of three top freshmen, the new Cardinals showed lots of promise on the first day of fall camp. has observations of Strong's freshmen recruits.

Charlie Strong's first recruiting class showed lots of promise during Thursday evenings first practice, even with three key recruits absent from practice.

Three of Strong's highest-rated signees - linebacker Deon Rogers and running backs Kamal Hogan and Corvin Lamb - didn't practice on the opening day of fall camp. Hogan was attending his grandpa's funeral out of town (former Oakland Raider Jack Tatum), while Lamb and Rogers, who are both on campus, are awaiting academic clearance. Sources said the duo could receive clearance in a day or two.

Though those three didn't practice, there was a lot to be excited about from Louisville's new stars. Here are a few first impressions of the Cardinals freshmen:

Of all the position groups, the defensive linemen and wide receivers were the most impressive newcomer units. Defensive linemen B.J. Butler, Jamaine Brooks, Brandon Dunn and Lacy Coleman all appear physically ready to play. All four guys were impressive physically and moved around well during drills.

As for the wide receivers, Michaelee Harris was the most impressive freshman, but Stephan Robinson, Jarrett Davis and Kai Dominquez also showed considerable promise.

Speaking of Butler, he's very impressive physically and reminds of former Louisville great Dewayne White in stature. It will be surprising if he doesn't play immediately at defensive end.

It looks like Dunn, a local recruit from Pleasure Ridge, is a major steal for the Cardinals. At 6'3, 285-pounds, Dunn looks the part. It will be interesting to follow his progression through training camp.

Dominique Brown proved an impressive athlete on the first day of fall camp.
Brooks, who comes from Miami, moves incredibly well for 328-pounds. Still, you can be sure the Louisville coaches want him to reshape his body and drop some weight. He's easily the biggest freshman on the team, but shows giant-sized potential.

Harris, a 6'1 wide receiver from Miami, Fla., showed why he was rated a four-star recruit last year. He ran precise routes, showed good hands, catching balls away from his body and hauling in passes thrown behind him, and had enough speed to get behind the secondary on a go route down the sideline.

Robinson and Davis appeared to be clones in the Trent Guy mold. Both guys have good hands and speed to burn. Eventually those two guys will be contributors for the offense.

Obviously, the biggest focus individually was on quarterback Dominique Brown. The former Ohio star QB is an impressive athlete. He also needs a lot of work in the passing department. Brown, who has solid arm strength, was a bit erratic in passing and skelly drills and struggled with his accuracy. Quarterback coach Mike Groh spent considerable effort working with Brown on his delivery and mechanics during practice. Still, you can see the potential he possesses.

Marcus Smith was also an impressive physical specimen at 6'4, 235-pounds. Smith has a big arm and can really zip it around. On this day, Smith looked the better passer of the two, though he also had his share of struggles.

One former college coach in attendance made an observation that both quarterbacks appeared to be trying to over do it and throw the ball too hard instead of just relaxing and making accurate throws.

Middle linebacker Preston Brown is a big guy. At 6'2, 250-pounds, it's easy to envision Brown outgrowing his linebacker position, though he moves nicely for his size. He's physically prepared to play this season.

Grant Donovan appears a solid walk-on addition and appears to be the team's future long snapper. Donovan, 6'1, 195, played at Male last season.

Charlie Strong and the newcomers were unavailable for comment following practice. Media also were not allowed to take photographs of the newcomers during practice.

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