This season is the start of a new era of Cardinal football. When we last saw our beloved Cardinals on the field, there wasn’t much to celebrate. Louisville finished the season at 2-10. The defense ranked 122nd out of 129 and they ranked 121st in scoring offense (per NCAA.com). You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that they were not good.
Despite what the record or stats say, there is talent on this team. Enough talent to win 8 games? Maybe not that much but there are 5 guys that I know are talented and could have a breakout year, or that could be instrumental if Louisville is to have a successful year.
There are actually more than 5 talented guys on this team but it’s just silly to list guys like Dez Fitzpatrick, Dorian Etheridge, Jawon Pass, Mekhi Becton, Seth Dawkins and several others. They have already had their breakout year. So I’ll give you 5 guys who I think should have a breakout kinda year.
- The first guy who I think will have a huge year is Hassan Hall. You could say he had his breakout year last season, but until a running back actually leads the team in rushing, I can’t say any running back has had a breakout year. Hassan was second on the team in rushing behind Malik Cunningham’s 497 yards. Hall rushed for 303 yards on 70 carries and had three touchdowns. He was electric returning the ball also as he returned 34 kickoffs for 818 yards, averaging 24.1 yards – including a 93 yarder for a touchdown against Clemson. With Coach Satterfield now calling the plays, I look for a steady dose of Dae Williams and Hassan Hall, or as I like to call them, Thunder and Lightning. I think Hall will be the teams leading rusher for the next few years and I look for him to be the first running back to get 1000 yards since Bilal Powell did it in 2010.
- Jordan Davis is a guy who could have a huge year. Not statistically but blocking in the run game. The last 2 seasons, App State tight ends caught 17 (2017) and 28 (2018) passes. He was the only scholarship tight end on Louisville’s roster when Satterfield took the reins. Davis was a highly rated recruit and played his first year at Texas A&M. He transferred to Louisville and sat out a year. He played the last 2 seasons behind Micky Crum, Charles Standberry and Kemari Averrett. With those 3 guys gone, Davis seems to be the guy. By all accounts Davis has been a monster in he weight room and I think he will be counted on to help the offensive line run block more than being a top target for Jawon. But he is definitely a pass catching threat, especially in the red zone, and defenses will have to honor that. He could be a huge contributor if this team has a successful year but probably won’t get the credit he deserves because what he will brings (blocking) won’t show up in the final stats.
- I believe the Louisville defense is loaded at Linebacker. Etheridge and Avery are the known commodities but my breakout guy is Yasir Abdullah. If you have read any of my stuff you know I am high on this guy. He is fast and has great tackling technique. I know they should all have that but it seemed to be a lost art over the last couple of years at Louisville. I think he has the most potential on the entire defense. I know he wasn’t listed on the initial depth chart but that may just be the motivating factor that propels him to be a top 3 tackler on the team.
- Ty Tyler is another guy who wasn’t listed on the initial depth chart but should see plenty of time on the field and could very easily be a starter on the D-line. Tyler, a grad transfer from Marshall, most likely wasn’t listed on the initial chart because he committed so late. In fact, I can’t even confirm if he was on campus yet when the chart was released. He is a high motor guy and I believe he came here with something to prove. He had 9 sacks last season which is two less than Louisville had as a team. He may not duplicate his 9 sacks but even if he only has 5, it would be a huge boost to the Louisville defense. He is also a very versatile guy that can play anywhere on the from seven, as he told me in this interview. Ty Tyler will give everything he has and could very well be the defensive MVP of this team.
- The last guy is another grad transfer. He is also a guy that won’t get the credit he deserves because there isn’t really any stats for offensive lineman. T.J. McCoy transferred from Florida. If you are not familiar with his story, he transferred to Florida from NC State in 2015 to be closer to his father who was diagnosed with cancer. He redshirted the 2015 season and in 2016 became the starting center due to injuries. After starting nine games in 2017, he suffered a season ending injury. New coach Dan Mullen came in and McCoy never got his job back once healthy. but did appear in four games. So Florida’s loss is the Cards gain. With McCoy, who was named to the 2019 Rimington Trophy Watch List, which honors the best center in the nation, anchoring the Louisville offensive line, Louisville suddenly becomes much deeper and experienced. McCoy, like Jordan Davis, could be major factors in Louisville’s success but may not get the credit they deserve.
There are several guys that are changing positions this season. Some of them out of necessity but others because they probably are better suited to play there. We shall see who thrives in their new position. Rodjay Burns seems to be the guy to keep an eye on as he moves to linebacker.
I only listed 5 guys but there are several others guys who I think could have huge years. Especially on the defense under new defensive Coordinator, Brian Brown. The first name that comes to mind is Amonte Caban. Tabarious Peterson, P.J. Blue, TreSean Smith, Chandler Jones and Robert Hicks are all guys to really keep an eye on.
On the offense, Javian Hawkins is a guy who might not get enough touches but will make the most of his opportunities. Other guys to watch are Tutu Atwell, Devante Peete, Justin Marshall and Tyler Harrell.
As Always, GO CARDS!