2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 19 Louisville Cardinals
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Louisville Cardinals
No. 19: Louisville Cardinals
Louisville Cardinals Prespring Status
Okay, so the Cardinals melted down losing their last three games, and okay, the fun of the Lamar Jackson highlight show fizzled against Houston and LSU – blame the O line – but this is still going to be among the nation’s most dangerous teams.
And the Heisman winner is still going to be fantastic.
Even with the late problems, the Cardinals finished third in the nation in total offense, blasted Florida State, gave Clemson a run for its money – when the machine was on, it was breathtaking. And that goes for the defense, too, that finished 14th in the nation.
Everyone will jump off the bandwagon after the way things ended, but Bobby Petrino brings back another loaded team, starting with Jackson to make the O go, and six starters back in all, depending on the formation. The defense loses five starters, but after a little while, it should be as effective as last year.
Louisville Cardinals Biggest Issue
Jackson needs to find a slew of new targets. There’s hope among some of last year’s key underclassmen, but the top three receivers are gone. Cole Hikutini will be a starting NFL tight end soon after leading the Cardinals with 50 catches and eight scoring grabs. while James Quick and Jamari Staples are both done after each averaging over 17 yards per catch.
Louisville Cardinals Biggest Positive
Besides Jackson? Leading tackler Keith Kelsey is done at one linebacker spot, but second-leading stopper Stacy Thomas returns on the inside. The secondary should be terrific with safeties Chucky Williams and Zykiesis Cannon leading the way, helping ease the loss of Josh Harvey-Clemons. The corner combination of Jaire Alexander – who led the team with five picks – and Trumaine Washington should be even better.
Really, Why Are The Louisville Cardinals Ranked Here?
Which Louisville team will show up? Will it be the one that couldn’t be stopped early on, or the one that looked so feeble at times late? With too many key personnel losses to be in the hunt for the ACC title, this isn’t going to be quite like last year, but Jackson is too good, Petrino is too good, and the offense will be too good not to hover around the ten-win mark.