The 22-man football class signed by the University of Louisville on Wednesday might just be the program’s best in the modern era of recruiting rankings.
The Cardinals finished national signing day with the No. 26 class nationally, according to Rivals.com. It is their highest rating by that recruiting service since it started publishing online rankings 15 years ago.
Six of U of L’s signees are considered four-star recruits by Rivals.com, and four of those players ended up among the top 250 prospects in the nation.
“I like the class,” Coach Bobby Petrino said. “I’m very excited and very fired up about getting these guys on campus. One of the things we really wanted to do is get longer and more athletic and faster. And I think we really did that.
“I really feel like we hit that objective.”
Eleven of the Cards’ 22 signees are considered four-star players by at least one of the major recruiting websites, and Petrino’s program made big gains along the offensive line.
All five of Louisville’s new O-lineman have four stars beside their names, including former Belfry standout Cole Bentley, who is one of the Cardinals’ four early enrollees from this class and finished the cycle ranked by Scout.com as the nation’s No. 279 overall player. Bentley is Louisville’s only in-state signee this year.
Petrino also added some talented new weapons at the offensive skill positions.
Quarterback Malik Cunningham and running back Colin Wilson are both considered top 250 recruits nationally by Rivals.com, which ranks Wilson as the Cards’ best prospect at No. 154 overall.
There was no signing day drama with four-star defensive back Russ Yeast — the son of former UK football star Craig Yeast — after a late scare from Notre Dame last week.
The Yeast family took an official visit to South Bend, Ind., two weekends ago, but the younger Yeast stuck with his commitment and signed with the Cardinals.
“We had to hold off a lot of schools,” Petrino said. “We did have a lot of schools that came in and really went after our commitments, and I think that speaks to our coaching staff and to this recruiting class. … This group of recruits had their little group-messaging going on and did a good job of recruiting each other.”
Until this year, Louisville’s top finish in the Rivals.com team rankings was 29th, achieved in 2011 with a class that included quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Last 10 U of L recruiting classes’ Rivals rankings
6-Mekhi Becton, Malik Cunningham, Justin Marshall, Corey Reed,
Colin Wilson, Russ Yeast
3-Dez Fitzpatrick, Jawon Pass, Chris Taylor-Yamanoha
3-Devonte Fields, Lamar Jackson, Devante Peete
2-James Hearns, James Quick
3-Keith Brown, Nick Dawson, Gerod Holliman
4-Teddy Brudgewater, Gerod Holliman, Andrew Johnson, Eli Rogers
3-Dominique Brown, Michaelee Harris, De’Antre Rhodes