Earlier this week, I posted about five players to watch on offense at this Friday’s spring football game. Now it is time for the five players to watch on defense. Once again, these won’t be the obvious guys that you already know about like Sheldon Rankins or James Burgess. Rather, this will be a list of guys that you may or may not have heard of, but that we expect to make an impact in the 2015 season for the Cards.
Once again, just for reference, I will tell you the five guys we highlighted going into last year’s spring game, just to show we may have an idea of what we are talking about. And if this is completely wrong this year, my fault. Last year’s five to watch on defense:
1) Keith Kelsey – Had to fill the void left by Preston Brown last season. I would say he did that.
2) Sheldon Rankins – Like I said, not even listing him this year because he is obvious. Was not obvious at this point last year.
3 & 4) Richard Benjamin & Chucky Williams – Had these guys on here because of the loss of Hakeem Smith and Calvin Pryor. Had no idea Gerod Holliman would blow up like he did, and James Sample wasn’t even a thought to be a Cardinal at the time.
5) Trevon Young – Didn’t have a breakout season, but also played a similar position as some guy named Lorenzo Mauldin. He still appeared in 11 games though.
So what that shows is this list may miss a time or two (Benjamin and Williams) or it can have guys on here that can be huge on defense (Kelsey and Rankins). Take it for what it’s worth. It would be easy to name the big-time guys. Taking a couple chances here.
Spring games are usually set up for the offense to shine, so this can be a little tricky on Friday. But if you pay attention to the defense and not just the big plays on offense, take a look at these guys.
S #25 Josh Harvey-Clemons (JR)
OK so this one is probably an obvious one, but since this will be his first season getting to play for Louisville, some may not know who he is so I had to include him. Should very well be a household name in the fall of 2015. At 6’5, Harvey-Clemons has incredible size for the safety position, almost unheard of. He sat out last season after transferring from Georgia, where he played for Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham.
This is only one play for him, but it is mainly to remind you that he played at Georgia. Meaning that this kid has played in big time games week in and week out. With a defense that lost Holliman and Sample, having the experience of Harvey-Clemons is big this season.
CB #10 Jaire Alexander (FR)
Jaire is a true freshman for the Cards this season. He enrolled in January so he has a head start on the other freshmen that won’t arrive until after the spring. By all accounts, Alexander has been one of the better players and a pleasant surprise on the defensive side of the ball this spring. Todd Grantham has mentioned on multiple occasions that he has been pleased with his play. He could find his way onto the field as a true freshman this season.
CB #29 Trumaine Washington (SO)
Washington appeared in 8 games last season as a true freshman. The game I remember the most was at Virginia when he had 4 tackles and 1 sack. He came in and played after senior Andrew Johnson seemed to keep getting burned on the deep pass. Washington came in and impressed me that game and had a solid freshman season. I look for him and Jaire Alexander to battle for a cornerback spot in the fall, with Shaq Wiggins likely having the other spot. But for Friday, there is a chance that you will see Washington and Alexander on the field at the same time. If so, keep in mind that is a freshman and a sophomore out there.
S #22 Chucky Williams (RS SO)
Like I said before, Chucky made this list last year, but with the crazy breakout year of Gerod Holliman and then James Sample arriving at UofL right before the season started, there wasn’t much time left on the field for Williams. He still played in 9 games, with some of that being on special teams. He did get 2 tackles in the Belk Bowl against Georgia, so that experience couldn’t hurt. He was a 4-star player on ESPN coming out of high school, so the potential is there for Williams to be a big time player. Putting him in the defensive secondary with 6’5 Josh Harvey-Clemons should be something fun to watch because Chucky is 6’2 himself.
OLB #96 Henry Famurewa (SO)
Famurewa only played in one game last season, and that was against Murray State. So this is one that we are taking a chance on by putting him on the list, but one we do feel confident in. I will just say I feel much more confident in him becoming an impact player than my chances of saying his name right. He was a 3-star player coming out of high school and was All-State in Georgia, which is a big accomplishment. He is another guy that if you have kept up with spring ball this season, you have heard coaches talk about his play. Not sure if there is a lot of open time this season at linebacker, but just remember his name because this guy will be making plays for the Cards at some point in his career.