The tight end spot was a position of need for the Louisville Cardinals last year and during this recruiting cycle. With the new addition of the 6’5 Christian Pederson, it is safe to say they have addressed that need. Pederson joins 6’6 Victor Mullen as the only tight ends in the class and is the 21st commitment in the #FlyVille21 class.
What’s poppin Louisville? pic.twitter.com/PCQDFAXBTU
— Christian Pedersen (@ChristianPed87) July 19, 2020
Christian Pederson played his high school ball at Junipero Serra in San Mateo, CA. Standing 6’5 and weighing in at 230 lbs, Pederson was looked at by Notre Dame, Oregon State, UCLA and Utah. Christian Pederson had over 20 offers to further his career. Pederson choose to continue both his academic and football career at Louisville over Virginia and San Diego State (who were listed in his final three). 247sports ranks Pedersen as the 38th best TE in the 2021 class.
Sam and Shawn breakdown what they see in Pederson’s film.
Christian Pedersen is exactly the type of TE Scott Satterfield wants in his offense. He’s versatile in that he can line up as an H-Back or traditional TE. As a blocker he’s tremendous. He’s athletic and powerful, able to move swiftly and drive defenders back. As a receiver, Pedersen is a huge target at 6’5. His length makes him a prime target for his QB and a likely weapon in red zone situation. He has good speed and runs decent routes. His ability to track the ball in the air is excellent as well.
Pedersen shines as a blocker. His high school lines him up at both H-Back and TE. As an H-Back, they like to use him to move behind the line and backside block. Pedersen, with a head of steam, running at his blocking assignment must be a scary sight for the defender. Once he gets his hands on the defender he drives him away from the play and many times into the ground. Lining up at TE, Pedersen is able to launch at the snap of the ball and engage his blocking assignment if in front of him. He stays low and square, using his legs to drive the defender back. Sometimes he’s asked to go to the second level and block. He’s very good at finding his assigned guy, usually a LB or S, and putting them down.
As a receiver, Pedersen has so much potential. With his size, I imagine he can be an excellent red zone target. His big hands and long arms allow him to snatch the ball out of the air. He does a very good job of using his hands to catch the ball and not his body. When he has room to run, Pedersen shows some good speed for a player of his size and build. His route running is good as you see him get wide open for most of his receiving highlights, barely even having defenders near him at the point of the catch. While he’s not the ultra quick type of player, his release at the line of scrimmage is excellent. When the ball is in flight, Pedersen often times is coming out of his break. He shows an excellent ability to find the ball and watch it in to his hands.
I believe Louisville will use him much as his high school does. Moving him around between H-Back and TE, primarily using him as a blocker, but then slipping him out to get wide open on post routes in the middle of the field or leaking into the flat. I truly believe that, though it isn’t prevalent in his highlights, Pedersen can go over the middle much more and be used to go up for jump balls and to run seam routes.
Louisville adds quality depth to their tight end/ h-back group today with the commitment of Christian Pederson, a promising athlete from San Mateo, CA. The 6’5 230 pound tight end had numerous offers but choose Louisville.
Peterson is coming to Louisville as an already polished run blocker. He is extremely quick and violent off the ball. Christian uses his sound technique to gain the proper leverage on defenders and eliminates any chance they had on making a play. Although he is listed as and plays tight end, Christian blocks like a lineman. He seems to have that nasty streak that you would love your offensive lineman to have and consistently finishes blocks by putting the defender on the ground. Tough and hard nosed, Pederson is who you want helping to create holes for your running game. Pederson is a tight end who seeks out contact at the line of scrimmage or downfield, he’s just an excellent run blocker. Where Pederson excels at downhill blocking, his pass protection will need some work. I don’t forsee him being used much as a pass blocker, but I’m pretty sure Coach Stu Holt will help him become a better all around blocker and tight end.
Let’s all be honest with ourselves, Louisville fans want their tight ends to be able to block and catch. We’ve already covered how great a blocker is, the next two paragraphs we’ll go a little bit in depth about Christian’s ability to catch the football. Christian has a very quick release off the line of scrimmage, a release that usually gets him open almost immediately at the snap. Christian is also a very good route runner. His ability to quickly get in and out of his break and to his spot to receive the pass. Not many linebackers are able to keep up with Pederson’s speed and route running, so he’s almost always wide open. Although safeties can keep up with Pederson, they are often too small and can’t jump and high point the ball like Pederson, so once again he’s open and a good choice for the QB to throw to. To put it simply, Christian Pederson is a mismatch and is a weapon in the passing game.
Once the ball is in the air Christian quickly locates the ball and keeps his eyes on the ball until he has secured the catch. We see so many drops because players take their eyes off the ball before they have secured it, that is not going to be an issue with Pederson. Christian high points the ball and snatches the ball out of the air the way former Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell grabs rebounds. Like a few of the Cardinals greats, Pederson catches the ball with his fingertips and then squeezes it in with his palms before tucking the ball in (3 points of contact). It is rare to see Pederson let the ball get into his body to make the catch.
I know it’s an overused term in sports, so forgive me for using it again but…….the young man has a very high motor and is a high quality player. There I said it. An exceptional route runner at his position, great catch radius, great hands, above average speed, strong and a great blocker; Pederson will be a great weapon for Coach Satterfield’s offense. I’m really impressed with Pederson’s blocking ability, he is definitely someone you can efficiently run behind and just isn’t another warm body that you put on the line of scrimmage like most of the current tight ends you see today.
Here at UofL, Card Nation has been spoiled with their tight ends for years with the likes of: Ronnie Ghent, Gary Barnidge, Scott Kuhn, Pete Nochta, Gerald Christian, and current stud Marshon Ford. Christian Pederson has every bit the skillset to leave his mark on the Louisville record books. With his strong hands combined with his exceptional route running, I see Pederson as a crowd favorite for years to come.
With Pedersen’s commitment, Louisville now has 21 commitments. 247sports ranks the class 18th in the country and 4th in the ACC. Louisville is now looking to fill a few more spots including QB.