Category Archives: Louisville Athletics
(Photo: Michael Bruntz, 247Sports)
Louisville Football receives a big time commitment today from 4 star Wide Receiver, Manuel Allen. He has been verbally committed to Nebraska since April. Top247 had him listed as the 36th receiver in the nation.
Defense Looks to Continue Progress in Upcoming Practices, Saturday’s Scrimmage. Plus Post Practice Interviews
Press Release – LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In the University of Louisville’s first football scrimmage last Saturday, first-year defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon wanted to see his players get to the football and tackle – a key component that’s helped the Cardinals sport a top-25 defense over the last seven seasons.
For the most part, Sirmon and head coach Bobby Petrino were pleased with the results in the team’s first major test under the lights at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Both coaches came away pleased with the ability to limit big plays and tackling, which were a cause for concern last season.
Associate Athletic Director Mark Jurich gave an update on the progress of the Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium expansion project today at the stadium. The $63 million expansion is currently on pace to be done for the beginning of the 2018 season and is also on budget. It will enclose the north end-zone and add 10,000 new seats, bringing the capacity to 65,000.
When asked if more expansion could be coming in the future Jurich said, “You have 65,000 chair back seats, over 75 suites and 5,500 club seats. I feel that’s pretty good. We’re the only stadium in the country that has all chair back seats. So 65,000 for us right now is a pretty comfortable point.” Read the rest of this entry
Donovan Mitchell is a name you hear on the streets of Louisville, and it is always greeted with a smile. His fierce athleticism and humble attitude made him a fan favorite during his two years here at the University of Louisville. Donovan was drafted number 13 overall to the Utah Jazz in this past NBA drat. SLAM Magazine’s Peter Walsh recently sat down with Mitchell to talk about life. You can read below what Donovan thinks about his Adidas shoe deal, baseball and how quickly life changed.
Courtesy of Louisville Athletics
The University of Louisville Assistant Secondary/Recruiting Coordinator, Cort Dennison, has been added to 247 Sports 30 Under 30. He is only 28 years old and is headed into his second year of on-field coaching. He believes his age is one of his biggest advantages. You can read the full article below!
Jaire Alexander has received another preseason All American nod. While we are thrilled Alexander is getting the recognition he deserves, we are confused why he is the only Cardinal on the list. The reigning Heisman trophy winner, Lamar Jackson, has yet again been left off another list. Check out the Sport Illustrated’s full team below.
It goes without saying that Lamar Jackson is the most important player on this years team. Not only because he plays quarterback but because he is the returning best player in the country – And he has the Heisman trophy to prove it.
But is he the most valuable player on this team? I guess that depends on your definition of most valuable. Most people say that the quarterback is always the most valuable. While I won’t argue with you if that is your belief but it’s hard for me to believe that this team can make the playoffs without Reggie Bonnafon as the team’s MVP. Read the rest of this entry
College football is upon us! Yesterday the University of Louisville football team held its annual kickoff luncheon. Check out the highlights below!
University of Louisville Football’s on campus recruiting director is Pete Nochta. Today, we get to know the former player, turned coach, a little better. Why does he think high school players should consider UofL? What does Petrino mean to him? Listen below to find out the answers to these questions and many more.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The importance of special teams can never be underestimated. Football games can be won – and lost – because of poor execution or critical mistakes in that phase of the game.
Heading into last season, there were many questions surrounding the special teams unit at the University of Louisville, with no experience returning at the punter or placekicker positions.
Those questions were answered immediately with the emergence of punter Mason King and kicker Blanton Creque – a pair of Kentucky natives.
Despite their lack of playing, the duo stepped in and calmed the nerves of the coaching staff by making this unit a strength of the team.
King, who hails from Louisville, never took a snap during the regular season until he punted in the season opener versus Charlotte. Even as newcomer, King emerged as the punter of the future, setting a school mark for punting average at 43.9 yards per boot.
Despite a 37.5 yards average in his first game, King continued to improve as the season went on, averaging over 40.0 yards a punt in seven games, including a 48.0 yards average in Death Valley versus Clemson and 49.3 yards a punt against Kentucky.
“I look back at all the work I put in, and Austin Johnson challenges me every day in practice,” King said, “which has made me a better punter. We challenge each other every practice and that’s what helps us kick so well.”
With all the success that King enjoyed last season, his biggest accomplishment is the fact that he was voted as one of the team’s seven captains last weekend. The St. Xavier High product, King and Devante Peete were named to lead the special teams.
“To be named a captain is an absolute honor,” King said after Wednesday’s practice. “To know that the players voted for me is an absolute honor to go out there, and I’m going to take advantage of that opportunity and let them know how valuable special teams are.
“I’m so excited for this season, especially after being named captain, which is something I never dreamed of.”
Creque took over the placekicking duties in the fourth game of the season, and never relinquished his starting opportunity, hitting 16-of-19 attempts – tied for the third-most in school history.
After missing one of his first two career attempts, Creque went on to connect on 10 straight, including tying a school record with four field goals in a win over NC State. He closed the year by going 3-for-3 in the Citrus Bowl loss to LSU, including hitting a career-best 47-yarder in the 29-9 loss.
“I had to make that jump last year, Creque said. “After a few games, I was able to zone in and treat every kick the same. In practice, I visualized that every kick I took was a kick in the game. My second game kicking was Clemson, so anything after that really didn’t faze me.”
There wasn’t a lot that Creque needed to improve on after missing three kicks all of last season, but he did need to figure out how to extend the ball to the end zone on his kickoffs.
“My kickoffs have been a big focus for me this offseason,” Creque said. “Right now in camp, I’m trying to make every kick. I’ve gotten stronger, which has been a big help for this so far during camp.”
Head coach Bobby Petrino spends a lot of time in practice focusing on special teams, which has paid off on game day, and Creque thinks the Cardinals will be even better this season.
“We are so deep this year,” Creque said, “that we will have a lot of guys playing on special teams. We emphasize it a lot in practice. The more time you spend on it, the better you will be. I think we have a chance to be very good on special teams this year.”
Last Season: After losing both their kicker and punter due to graduation, the Louisville special teams needed new faces at those positions. Mason King took over duties as the team’s new starting punter, while Evan O’Hara and Blanton Creque split duties as the starting kicker throughout the season.
King had a solid season as a freshman, finishing in the top 20 in average yards per punt. The St. Xavier alum was the only freshman in the country to be in the top 20 in punting.
Blanton Creque finished 16/19 on the season, with a season-long of 47 yards against LSU in the Citrus Bowl. Creque took over after the Florida State game last year, also hitting 39 of 40 extra-point attempts.
In the return game, Jaire Alexander proved why he is one of the most dangerous returners in college football. The sophomore had a punt return for a touchdown against Florida State last season, and nearly had a second in the same game. Alexander finished in the top 15 in average yards per return in 2016.
Projected Starters: Mitch Hall (long snapper), Blanton Creque (kicker), Mason King (punter), Jaire Alexander (punt returner), Cornelius Sturghill & Traveon Samuel (kick returner)
With Colin Holba going to the NFL, Louisville recruited All-American Mitch Hall to replace him. Hall played in the Army All-American game last January, and was regarded as one of the best long snappers in high school last year. He’ll likely start at long snapper this year, giving the Cardinals a potential four-year starter at the position.
The rest of the starters will likely remain the same. Creque and King will likely retain their roles as starting kicker and punter, respectively. King showed improvement as the season progressed; he averaged 40.23 yards per punt in his first six games, and upped it to 46.11 yards in the final seven games of the season.
Creque took over duties in mid-September and had a decent season, mostly hitting field goals inside of 45 yards. U of L did not allow a kickoff or punt return touchdown in 2016, but the Cardinals were 111th in touchbacks last year (11 total), and did not attempt a field goal of 50+ yards.
Moving to the other side of special teams, Alexander will be the main figure at punt returner. Holding the position since his arrival in 2015, he only has one touchdown so far, but has come close to scoring a couple more and has been Louisville’s best special teams ace since Trent Guy.
Louisville rotated several guys as kick returners last season, but the best options so far have to be wide receiver Traveon Samuel and cornerback Cornelius Sturghill. Samuel is a stark contrast to the taller receivers at 5’7″, but he has great burst and the team has been able to use him in several different ways. He had a kick return for a touchdown in 2015 against Clemson, and has been used as a slot receiver and even running back. Think of Samuel as a player like Dri Archer or Dexter McCluster, one where the coaches try to get him the ball on designed plays to let him get yards in space.
Sturghill is a popular pick as the team’s other kick returner for one reason: speed. Sturghill has regularly been charted as one of the fastest men on Louisville’s roster, but missed last season due to a gunshot wound. Now that he’s back, the redshirt sophomore is a contender to start at cornerback and be in line for a big role on special teams. His speed could add another wrinkle to the return game.
Key Reserves: Ryan Betlach (long snapper), Evan O’Hara (kicker), Russ Yeast (returner)
Betlach is a senior from Tates Creek High School, and brings the most experience of any long snapper currently on Louisville’s roster. He’ll add depth to the position, in any event that Hall gets injured this season.
Evan O’Hara is the only other kicker on Louisville’s roster with game experience. O’Hara started Louisville’s first three games, hitting 3-of-6 field goal attempts last season.
Another guy to watch is cornerback Russ Yeast. Yeast was an Under Armour All-American selection, but can play wide receiver and on special teams. The son of former Kentucky standout Craig Yeast, Russ is currently the backup behind Alexander on punts, but his fluid hips and acceleration could get him some reps as a returner this season.
Be sure to check out our other previews:
The Cards last played in the Kickoff Classic In 2015. Although we lost there was still a lot of excitement surrounding the event. We wondered when we would get to return & it looks like we just found out. FBSSchedules.com reports that the Cards & Ole Miss will tangle in 2021. The game is expected to be played in the Mercedes Benz Stadium.
It is no secret that the football world is once again, sleeping on Lamar Jackson. Leading up to his Junior season, the 2016 Heisman winner has been on very few preseason lists. While Lamar shrugs it off, the fans and his teammates know they will all regret it soon enough. Yahoo!’s Pat Forde sat down with Lamar and company last week and talked about this upcoming season. You will see below why Forde believes Lamar Jackson is the most disrespected Heisman winner of all time.
Today we sit down with Jaylen Smith and find out more about the Wide Receiver. We get to know where his hometown is, and what it’s known for. Who is his favorite superhero? And most importantly, does he prefer tacos or hamburgers? Here is Fast Facts with Jaylen Smith.
Today on Beat the Buzzer, we get to know freshman Jordan Nwora better. Who is he one celebrity he would leave a comp ticket for? What is his hometown known for? Find out the answer to these and many more below.
Lonnie Galloway, Jaylen Smith and Seth Dawkins spoke with the media after today’s practice. The wide receivers know they have a very big role on this team if they want to have a special year.
Jarett Jackson is the newest member of BirdGang18. Jackson is a Tight End & Defense End from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He is a 3 star player. He had offers from NC State, Florida State, & others. Coach Cort Dennison focused on the recruiting of Jarett.
Here is Highlights from his Sophomore Year
V.J King, Anas Mahmoud and Ray Spalding have all returned from the always competitive Adidas Nations Camp. This is where Terry Rozier, Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel broke on to the NBA scene the last few years. ESPN’s Seth Greenburg deemed the Louisville trio “a taller and younger version of the three amigos.” You can see the full recap below.
Here is another story in reference to the Adidas 2017 camp.
Darius Days, a four star power forward out of Florida, told Jody Demling of Cardinal Authority that he will be visiting September 15th. He has gained more offers since Louisville offered him a scholarship on July 15th. Days has been averaging over a double-double in this summer’s AAU season. Experts believe he will decide between LSU, Florida, Louisville, & Kansas as his top choices for school.
Here are a few highlights of Darius…
Human highlight reel, Lamar Jackson, had a Saturday morning spot on Sports Center this past weekend. Jackson talked about how humbling the whole experience has been, but also mentioned what his head coach, Bobby Petrino has been working with him on this past off-season. Coach Petrino also made an appearance just to touch on what the recruiting has been like since the Heisman has come to Louisville. Take a look below to see the full clip.