2023 Louisville Football Guide: Quarterbacks

We are 57 days away from the start of the 2023 Louisville football season as of this posting, so it’s time to begin our annual roster breakdown. To begin our breakdown of the Louisville roster, we will first take a look at the quarterback position.

Last Year:

Louisville’s passing game in 2022 was not as explosive as the prior three seasons under now former head coach Scott Satterfield. The Cardinals were 12th out of 14 ACC schools in passing yards per game (205.5 YPG) while attempting the fewest passes per game (28.3). While their 7.3 yards per attempt did rank them a respectable seventh in the conference, it was also the lowest of the Satterfield era at Louisville, as was the 13:12 TD-to-INT ratio.

Starting quarterback Malik Cunningham battled through injuries to finish with 1,568 passing yards and eight touchdowns with five interceptions, completing 62.4% of his passes. Cunningham also scored 12 touchdowns on the ground, and became Louisville’s all-time career leader in touchdowns responsible for (120). He has since departed and signed an undrafted free agent deal with the New England Patriots.

Brock Domann made four starts throughout the 2022 season as Cunningham battled injuries, including the final three against NC State, Kentucky, and Cincinnati. Domann won three of his four starts and completed 54% of his passes for 958 yards, with four touchdowns and six interceptions.

Quarterbacks coach Pete Thomas joined Satterfield at Cincinnati to take the same position there. Former Louisville quarterback and Orange Bowl MVP Brian Brohm joins his brother Jeff on the staff at U of L, taking over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2023.

Starter: Jack Plummer

Jeff Brohm wasted little time in utilizing the transfer portal to bolster his roster in 2023 (spoiler: you may hear this phrase a lot in the following position breakdowns this summer), and one of the biggest acquisitions was at quarterback. Jack Plummer arrived at Louisville shortly after Brohm, coming to U of L after a one-year stint at Cal, and three prior seasons with Brohm at Purdue.

Plummer completed 62.5% of his passes last season, with 3,095 yards and 21 touchdowns to nine interceptions. He also had huge outings against some of the best teams in the Pac-12: against ranked opponents last season, Plummer had 12 touchdowns and four interceptions with 1,490 yards, including 406 yards against USC and a 294 yard, four touchdown outing in the season finale against UCLA.

Additionally, Plummer also made 13 starts at Purdue, completing 64.8% of his passes for 3,405 yards and 26 touchdowns with ten interceptions in a three-year stint with the Boilermakers.

Since arriving at Louisville, Plummer has seized the starting job and looked every bit like a QB1 this spring. He’s a stout presence in the pocket at 6’5″, 215 lbs. with a quick release. Where he shines the most is in the short and intermediate passing game; he is a quick decision maker, especially on slants and play-action designs with one read. He had a really nice throw in the spring game where he threw a touchdown pass to the tight end down the seam, immediately after the fake handoff.

One thing that will win me over when watching quarterbacks is quick decision making in play concepts like this, and Plummer often excels in that. He also showcases great touch on deep throws, especially outside in 50/50 scenarios. While Plummer is a traditional pocket passer, he has had moments where he can move around in the pocket and buy time to find open receivers.

Overall, Plummer is a quarterback that should give Louisville a really strong floor for the offense. If he is able to develop chemistry fast with guys like Jamari Thrash, Jimmy Calloway and Ahmari Huggins-Bruce, there is potential for Plummer to leap into the upper echelon of quarterbacks in the ACC.

Notable Backups: Brock Domann, Brady Allen, Pierce Clarkson, Evan Conley

Barring anything unforeseen this summer, Brock Domann should start 2023 as the backup quarterback. But behind him are a pair of young guys that will likely compete for the starting job in 2024, with true freshman Pierce Clarkson and Purdue transfer Brady Allen joining the team.

Domann had a serviceable 2022 season and looked very solid in the spring. He looked more comfortable within Brohm’s offense, and the explosiveness / risk taking nature of it should better serve his skill set. Adding better talent at wide receiver should allow Domann to elevate his play in the event he has to see the field in 2023.

As for 2024 and beyond, the starting job figures to come down to the aforementioned Clarkson and Allen. Both provide fundamentally different skill sets but the future looks very bright for Louisville at the position, either way.

Clarkson arrives as one of the top prospects in Louisville’s highly touted 2023 recruiting class from St. John Bosco in California. He’s a dual-threat quarterback that has a lot of solid attributes in his favor. Clarkson showed some nice zip on almost every throw, whether it was in a clean pocket or rolling to the weak side. Clarkson can also escape pressure and gain chunk yardage with his feet, and never seemed to be rattled when facing a blitz. With Plummer stepping in, 2023 should be an ideal season for Clarkson to refine his game and learn the nuances of Jeff Brohm’s system.

Brady Allen, however, won’t need much time to get reacquainted. Allen arrives at Louisville after spending last season with Brohm at Purdue, and like Clarkson, also carries a strong pedigree from his high school career. Allen was named Indiana Mr. Football in 2021, and finished his high school career with 11,918 yards (second all-time in Indiana) and 149 passing touchdowns. Allen is another huge pocket passer at 6’5″ with an arm that jumps out on tape. Allen’s strongest attribute is his ability to drop passes right over the defense, and he has really good arm strength as well. He checks a lot of boxes with what you want from pocket passers, and he can extend plays with his feet to find open receivers as the play breaks down. Between Allen and Clarkson, the competition for the starting job in 2024 should be very tight.

Evan Conley also returns for another season with the Cardinals. Many will remember him for his 2019 heroics against Boston College and Wake Forest, but he’s appeared rarely in games since and with Louisville’s influx of players at the quarterback spot, it’s hard to see him getting significant reps behind Domann, Allen, and Clarkson.

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