The University of Louisville, coming off an 8-5 season and a Music City Bowl victory, bolstered its roster with 23 new players on national signing day Wednesday.
Cardinals Coach Bobby Petrino secured signatures from nine offensive players, 12 defensive players, one athlete and one punter.
The group includes 19 high school players and four junior-college transfers. Three players have already enrolled and will be eligible for spring practice.
Louisville’s class was ranked No. 36 in the nation by Rivals.com as of Wednesday evening.
On offense, U of L signed four wide receivers, two running backs, an offensive lineman, a quarterback and a tight end. Defensively, the Cardinals added five linemen, four defensive backs and three linebackers.
Louisville pulled in talent from 10 different states. The most (eight) came from Georgia. Three are from Kentucky — defensive lineman Derek Dorsey of Manual, punter Austin Johnson from DeSales and wide receiver Keion Wakefield from Male.
Louisville’s haul included four four-star prospects — wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick from Farmington Hills, Mich., quarterback Jawon Pass from Columbus, Ga., safety London Iakopo from Santa Ana., Calif., and wide receiver/defensive back Chris Taylor-Yamanoha from Rohnert Park, Calif.
EKU’s Elder signs first class
New Eastern Kentucky football coach Mark Elder has spent the past few years coaching offense, but the Colonels’ new boss used his first signing day at EKU to load up on defense.
Elder’s class of 26 signees included six defensive linemen, five linebackers and four defensive backs.
But Elder, who coached tight ends and special teams from 2013-2015 at Tennessee before replacing Dean Hood as EKU head coach in December, did not neglect the offense, securing signatures from three quarterbacks, four offensive linemen, two wide receivers, a running back and a long snapper.
“We tried to address needs across the board,” Elder said. “We signed three quarterbacks that all won a state championship in high school, a couple of wide receivers that are electric with the ball in their hands, an all-state running back and one of the best long snappers in the country. We signed four big physical offensive linemen. We added several defensive linemen, which was a big emphasis for this class. We wanted to add size and length on the defensive line. We added several linebackers, a position that we were a little thin at. Then there are four defensive backs that can play man coverage and be very physical against the run.”
EKU recruits come from 12 states, including five from Kentucky — St. Xavier linebacker Logan Butler, Trinity defensive lineman Connor Foos, Trinity linebacker Damon Love, Bell County offensive lineman Nathan Murray and Casey County defensive lineman DJ White.
The Colonels’ new QBs are high schoolers Austin Scott from Moore, S.C., and James Smith Jr. from Charlotte, N.C., and mid-year transfer Tim Boyle from UConn.
WKU lands several Kentuckians
Western Kentucky Coach Jeff Brohm announced 13 new players on signing day, including three from Kentucky. Seven early enrollees were previously announced, bringing the full class to 20.
The Hilltoppers, 12-2 last season and winners of the Miami Beach Bowl, added three wide receivers, defensive linemen and offensive linemen Wednesday as well as two defensive backs, a quarterback and a tight end. WKU’s class was ranked No. 91 nationally by Rivals.com.
The three Kentuckians are Woodford County offensive lineman Seth Joest, Frankfort defensive lineman Anthony Robinson and Bryan Station defensive back Devon Key. They join early enrollees Quinton Baker (running back) and Drew O’Bryan (linebacker) from Ashland and Demetrius Cain (linebacker) from Caldwell County.